See You When I am Famous!!!!!!!!!!!!
When KYLE was in high school, his senior quote was “see you when I'm famous,” and whether by manifestation, luck, hard work, or some combination thereof, here he is. The California rapper's second album See You When I am Famous!!!!!!!!!!!! traces his journey from Ventura to Los Angeles, where he transformed that proclamation into a reality, as he takes stock of the things that were gained and lost along the way. Fame is never without its costs, but it can be hard to tell that by listening to KYLE; a sense of optimism is the consistent element across all of his music, which folds in the bubbliness of pop, the sentimentality of R&B, the carefree ethos of surf rock, all filtered through a rap lens. “With this album, I realized I wanted to get back to the KYLE bag,” he tells Apple Music. “My headspace was really trying to reconnect with my past to tap back into, I think, the best nature of KYLE music, which is just pure joy and excitement and happiness and starry-eyedness.” Many of the songs resemble those of old—“Money Now” with its bright production and triumphant lyrics, “GIRLS” with its buoyantly flirty singsong raps, “What It Is” with its utopian read of tough separations. But there's also a more contemplative version of himself that emerges throughout, on songs like the mellowed standout “The Sun” which paint KYLE in a new light. “It is a breakup album in a sense, because me leaving my hometown, which is essentially what I'm talking about, I had to break up with a lot of people,” he says. “You have to break up with your girlfriend, you've got to break up with your homies—none of my homies were my friends after that. But at the end of the day, the 17-year-old me put 'see you when I'm famous,' and I made it. I made it happen.” Read on for KYLE's thoughts about each track on the project.
Bouncin “‘Bouncin’ actually happened to be the very first song I made for this album. All the feelings that I'm talking about are in that track. That's the first time I expressed them, and there's no other way to start the album. Everything that's said on 'Bouncin' is something I needed to say, and I just feel like I wanted to use a song that was a little more cinematic and also that was exciting and had all the bars in it and just get everything off my chest.”
Money Now “In my head, I'm trying to approach this from the 17-year-old perspective of when I put 'see you when I'm famous' and all the things I thought I needed—just the idea that's in your head when you're 17 and you're talking about being rich and famous. Starting off with 'The check's the only thing that isn't bouncin’' and then going into 'Money Now' was the perfect way to keep that wave riding and that starry-eyedness—'Wow, this is what it's like to be famous.' But I got the song from Johnny Yukon, who is lit, he's awesome, and immediately realized it gives me that same feeling of listening to a Graduation-like Kanye song, just put-your-hands-up-in-the-sky type of a vibe. I loved it immediately. And then when I cut it, I sent it to Tyga, who I was expecting to take months and months and months to do it, but Tyga is such a professional, he just did it the same day. I was never used to that. Everybody I send songs to, it takes like three or four months to get it back, and Tyga just boom, that same night, got it done.”
GIRLS “That one came together because my lady is actually my biggest source of music. She is a DJ, and she really puts me on everybody. She's the person who showed me Lil Yachty. She showed me Rico Nasty, and me and her have been big Rico Nasty fans for going on like two years now, and she also gave me the idea of flipping the Beastie Boys song because it has KYLE energy to it. And when we got it—because 'Girls,' the initial Beastie Boys one, is such a song for the homies, for the bros—we wanted to switch up the energy and add a female rapper to it. It just made perfect sense to add my favorite female rapper, and she killed it too. I went to the studio with her, and she just went in there and did her thing.”
YES! “So what we're making is surf-rock trap. I collaborated with a very special artist named The Drums—almost every song on this album, he had some part in. He either produced it or helped produce it or played something or sang background vocals—he's all over it. I wanted to make this album an ode to my past and an ode to Ventura, where I'm from, and Ventura is really a surf town. So I wanted to bring you there by sampling a bunch of surf rock stuff, so that's where the initial happy vibe came from. And then I had this beat for hella long and didn't know what to do with it, and one night, I'm in the studio and K CAMP gets in there. I'm trying to play K CAMP just a bunch of regular trap beats—he doesn't like any of them. And then I played that one, and I was like, 'I got this really weird one. I don't know if you're going to like it.' And he was all like, 'Oh man, that's it, that's fire.' And he just led the journey on that. It was tight—I felt like I had my big brother with me almost teaching me how to rap in a sense. And then I sent it to Rich The Kid, and he was a professional about it too, did it and got it done right away.”
Forget “Once again, that one samples another Drums song. Jonny from The Drums, who collaborated on everything, sent me 'Forget.' At first it was just his hook, and it was the beat, and we flipped it into a trap song. That song is really special to me because I feel like it really embodies more of the pain of the project. Being famous is awesome, but it also means you have to leave people behind, and you have to forget in a sense. Another thing I love doing is bringing two different worlds together, whether it's sampling a Beastie Boys record and putting Rico Nasty on it or bringing AzChike and Too $hort together or bringing just different—Johnny Yukon and Tyga together, or whatever it is. I really love the fact that I got to introduce Trippie Redd to The Drums' music and introduce Jonny to Trippie Redd, because Trippie Redd loves rock music but hadn't heard of him, and Jonny loves Trippie Redd now. It was just tight to make a really unique collaboration, and Trippie killed it—he was perfect on the hook. And then iann dior, who is also super awesome, I met him one night at Rolling Loud, and he was perfect for it too. That one was like butter, literally came together and it's perfect. I feel like the music gods are really happy about that song.”
Over It “Now that one is really fire, because I think the story that I'm trying to portray is I'm a 17-year-old kid, I dream about being famous, I dream about the check not bouncing and having money now and having girls, right? That is the trajectory we're on. And then the other side of being famous comes with all these emotions of leaving people behind, them feeling attached to you, and then you essentially feeling resentment. I think that's what 'Over It' talks about—me and my relationships that I had to leave behind in my hometown and those people being mad at me and then me just being completely over it when they're trying to rekindle those relationships. That's the emotional story behind it. But musically, it was made by this dude named Happy Perez and my homie Naz, who also produced pretty much every song on this project. He had a hand in almost everything. They just killed it. Happy Perez played me that guitar loop and I was like, 'Bro, this is it. You don't have to do anything, just send me this.' That song doesn't have any drums on it, it's just the loop. That's one of my favorites.”
What It Is “‘What It Is’ is trying to move on from hurt relationships with no hard feelings. I think a part of growing up is learning how to have something not work out the way you wanted and being able to live with it and accept it for what it is. I've always loved making R&B music and making pop songs too, and I think that this record is just such an awesome blend of R&B, trap, pop—everything in one song. I feel like it really sums up me as an artist really well. Produced by Mick Schultz, the god.”
The Sun “I got to meet Raphael Saadiq for the first time, and I was hella nervous, obviously, because he's Raphael Saadiq, and he's just a complete GOAT. I go to his studio, and he starts asking me what do I want to do. And I was like, 'I want to make surf music, like beach music, and I want to figure out a way to trap it out.' And he was like, 'Man, that's cool, I like that. Matter of fact, you know who you remind me of? James Taylor—you sing like James Taylor.' And I didn't even know who James Taylor was—I look him up and James Taylor's just like some old white guy. And I was like, 'Okay, I don't know what to do with that, but I feel you.' And then he was like, 'And on the surf vibes, you know what we need to make music like? Jack Johnson.' He's Raphael Saadiq, so obviously he knows what he's talking about, and I can't question him on it. So I went home, listened to some Jack Johnson, came to the studio two days later and was fully committed. And then Raphael just starts playing the guitar and playing the keys and playing the bass and just starts creating the prettiest song I've ever heard. It all clicked and started to make sense. I was like, 'Whoa, we're really about to make a pretty song. I get the whole Jack Johnson campfire vibes now. Now I get what he was talking about.' I think it's the prettiest song I've ever made. And then Bryson—I thought, damn, I have this beautiful song. I can't just let anybody get on this. And there's no better songwriter in the game than Bryson Tiller. But that right there is the problem with the youth and the OGs not collaborating enough. You know what I'm saying? Because I should know about James Taylor, and if I kicked it with people like Raphael Saadiq more, then I would. And so that's one of my favorite things to always do and something I always try to focus on is bringing the OGs with the youth—putting Bryson Tiller and Raphael Saadiq on the same song.”
Bye “I'm an optimistic person, and I'm always trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think 'Bye' really helped me voice a lot of things that I've never really got to say on my songs. It's really like I miss who I was back then, and that was something that was important to me when making this album was getting back to who I am. And I think the me in high school was so undefeatable. That's where the Super Duper Kyle was born, that 17-year-old that just knew he could do anything. Before I could take any more steps forward in my life, I felt like I needed to go back and find what was in him and take a little bit of that and bring it with me. Because it's inevitable that your life is going to change and you're going to go to different places, but you've got to keep your core with you, and this song really gave me a chance to express that the right way. I miss my mom, I miss sneaking into her house, I miss my friend Mr. Man, who is my best friend and my rapping partner my whole YouTube era. I missed a lot of people, I missed my family, and most importantly, I missed that youthful version of myself.”
A Message From Mr. Man (Interlude) “So what I wanted to do is call people throughout the making of this project and just ask them their take on where my life is now. I live in Hollywood, I'm in movies, I go on tour and go around the world, and I'm so removed from my center that I just wanted to talk to all the people from my past and ask them what they thought about what was going on or just get their view on things. And Mr. Man, who is my best friend from childhood, gave me the best advice of everybody. And when he said it, I was like, 'This is what I needed to hear,' because you struggle with confidence and shit when you forget yourself and you forget who you are. And he was telling me, 'Bro, with this album, you've gotta just have fun and just feel it. You gotta take it back to when you were just doing it for fun, because you've always been raw, it's never left you. Don't ever question if you're awesome and start trying to do the extras. Just have fun and it's going to be fire.' And when he told me that, I damn near cried, because I had forgotten that. You start taking shit so serious that you forget the point, and yeah—'A Message From Mr. Man' is the most vital track on the project.”
Mr. Man & K.i.D “The thing is, I started off a rapper's rapper. I loved Big L and Jadakiss and The Lox. Jadakiss and Styles P going back and forth is my favorite part about hip-hop in general. And me and Mr. Man used to do that all the time. And I think how the journey [of the album] goes is he has this idea of being famous. He starts off super broke in 'Bouncin,' then he gets there in 'Money Now.' He finally has all the girls and feels like 'Yes, I have everything.' He has to forget his relationships and move on. There was a quarrel with that, and then he finally accepts it in 'What It Is.' Sorry—I think about my albums and shit as a chronological movie. 'The Sun,' it's like he makes up for it and just wants to get back to a place where he loves those people. 'Bye' is like he finally realizes the person that he needed to heal was himself and really expresses all the things that he went wrong on. I think 'A Message From Mr. Man' is where it clicks, and then 'Mr. Man and K.i.D' is me at peace. It's me being the 17-year-old version of myself again, just having fun with my friend. And I think that's just the perfect way to end the album, because it's like he made it. He was going on a journey trying to reconnect with himself, and he got there.”
See You When I'm Famous “The reason this is the bonus track is because it kinda doesn't fit into any of this. It definitely represents the album—it's called 'See You When I'm Famous'—but it was a song I fell in love with and I had to put on here. AzChike happens to be one of my favorite rappers—my girl actually showed me AzChike. It's one of the things where I brought the youth to the OGs, because AzChike got on really because he flipped a Too $hort song, and he had never met Too $hort. So once we had the AzChike song, it was just me and him at first, it made sense—like, let's connect him with one of his idols. Let's bring him to somebody he loves. And Too $hort was perfect on it.”