K.Burns is a Brooklyn wordsmith and rapper who delivers gritty dispatches from the underside of the Big Apple. Listening to Burns’s music feels like being plunged headfirst into a black & white Mafioso film, dusty drum loops and cinematic strings setting the stage for his vividly worded tales. K.Burns was kind enough to answer some questions for Bored In Pittsburgh; check it out below.
Who are you? An origin story for K.Burns, if you will.
I’m K.Burns, Founder, CEO of a Boutique Hip-Hop Label/Distributor & 1 of 4 artist a part of the Hip-Hop collective Team Fame GVNG. I’m born & bred in Brooklyn NY…Clinton Hill to be exact.
I was born 1986, so I was blessed to grow up with Hip-Hop, and now I’m a proud contributor of the culture. Rapping was always in me, but after my baby brother got killed when I was 12, I began jotting down lines and music became more of an escape. As I got deeper into it, it turned to a form of expression, things I wouldn’t speak on verbally began to come out lyrically. Childhood friends and my brothers all began bugging off how fast I was progressing but thats just how I am; constantly aiming to step it up and master whatever I set out to do.
Who or what inspires you to make music? It could be other artists, life experiences, places, really anything.
I got to give all credits to the hand I was dealt in life. Growing up I used to feel like this was a shitty hand God dealt me and my family so my music embodies my lifestyle through and through. Being able to tell my story to the world and actually turn it into art is the blessing, though, because I’m able to draw my inspiration from these trivial and triumphant experiences. It’s life, so the more I live to the fullest, be it good or bad, I’m able to be myself and every situation gives me my inspiration.
When did you start making music? Did you always know that it was something you wanted to do?
Summer ’98, aka “The Summer to Remember” as I call 1998 in NYC. Like I said before, its always been in me even though I didn’t know it. My uncle on my father side is one of the illest emcees to come from Marcy Projects, so when he first came home from his bid he got right back into his career. He took me to the studio one day and it had been no turning back ever since. I instantly fell in love with the craft.
What is your songwriting process? Do you freestyle, write things down beforehand, or a mix of both?
Everything, no cocky shit I can do it all. I love writing. It’s something magical about the craft & composition of a piece. I get a rush freestyling live on air at the radio station. That’s what I call the real test of skill for an artist. And I mean REAL freestyling, not no written shit. So for me it’s kind of half and half. Good weed, zoning out & some solitude, and it’s on. It’s no trick to it at this age and stage in my artistry especially since I record my work myself. I can battle too so I’m able to mix the skill sets together and get busy as I please. Storytelling is where I set myself aside from the rest though honestly.
Your beats all have this really gritty, Mafia movie feel to them; they give your songs a ton of atmosphere. What is your process for working with producers and choosing instrumentals?
I’m from Brooklyn; we are heavily influenced by the Mafia its no denying that.
I listen to a lot of beats with a keen ear every day at some point. The beat has to feel like me. It’s all feeling in choosing a beat. Yes, some are flat out undeniable and I can get greedy if the chemistry with a producer matches. But for the most part I’m one picky dude.
I’ve become a minimalist over time, and I crave dusty loops and samples. It also has to be cinematic or I probably won’t want it. I prefer baselines and I’m not big on drums. So it’s very weird for me; I’m a beat maker’s worst nightmare because I’m so picky. But this is my art we are talking about. My story that world is going to hear, it has to be scored well. Makes lyrics flow easier for me.
Brooklyn and the city of New York as a whole are some of the most iconic places in the history of hip-hop. How do you see yourself and your music fitting into that legacy?
Right in the lineage of the greats. My mom is from the same neighborhood as BIG & my father is from Marcy Projects. So you got BIG & Hov both as icons from Brooklyn and I intend to add my name to the legacy. It’s not to many that come from these historic neighborhoods & genetically interconnected and bound to these places. So I’m clear exactly where I stand in this.
You’re the CEO of the Team Fame GVNG; can you give some background on what Team Fame GVNG is and how you founded it?
Team Fame Music Group, LLC better known as Team Fame GVNG is a boutique Hip-Hop Label/Distributor & Collective. We have a unique unconventional distribution system curated directly to the listeners that are being taken by storm with this world we have created around the the brand, each artist & producer. Its 6 of us…
Do you have any songs, albums, or musical accomplishments that you’re especially proud of?
Many, to be real. I stand proud on everything I’ve accomplished in my career.
My debut mixtape, Brooklyn Gangster, hosted by DJ On Point, Rap City Freestyle Cypher, Rolling Loud 2016, the Sway In The Morning Freestyle, everything on my Bandcamp; the list can go on. My music is created for the digger, the navigator of music you know… the discoverers. So I’m proud having a catalog for folks to discover for years to come so I can’t single out any “one” thing.
Are there any other Brooklyn or New York artists that you would recommend to people who like your music?
My brother Fetty soon to shut The Bity down trust me. My cousin Mike Suave got the torch right now. My lil homie Spazzo Brim… Band-Up P…Sky Glizzy & my personal favorite Lil Spazzo Brim. These my young fellas right here. Soon to be household names, remember you heard about them from me. Sha Da Rebel, Ricio, NFL Lefty, GIB, Cardi, ..My dude Ju Bang too I can’t forget about my dawg. Salute to my brogawds from the town, Eddie Kaine & Rim. Brooklyn very active.
Is there anything else that I forgot to ask or that you want people to know about you, your music, or anything in general?
Make sure you if you’re reading this to check out my 3rd full album of 2019, Mob Ties, on every platform. And look out for me and my brother Mak P album, Kane & Lynch, dropping end of the year. Follow me on all social platforms too.