Already on his third project of 2019 and what he views as his first official full-length album, Brooklyn emcee K. Burns has just dropped Burnieville. Boasting production and features from his Team Fame Gvng (TFMG) [more info on those members below] the album is rounded out by appearances from Rim (Da Villins), Con$piracy, Eddie Kaine and Kelo. Producers on the project include Tru P., Wavy Da Ghawd, Hobgoblin, Bass Reevez, Gabdulla Tha Butcha, and Cousin Res. While his name has been popping on the internets heavy over the past year, our chat with him reveals his cred goes back to the glory days of Brooklyn hip-hop. Read below…
Growing up in the Clinton Hills section of Brooklyn, did you come up with or encounter any notable emcees or producers on the regular?
Aside from the hip-hop aspect just growing up in what would be later known as the “Brooklyn Bohemia” I saw many cultured pioneers & creatives around the way.
I was blessed to be from an historic block with a few division basketball players as well as AA Rashid, April Walker (Fashion Designer), and my Aunt Nelda (AKA Nelly G) who was a 1980’s Brooklyn Fashion icon. We call her the “Original Queen B,” Lil Kim got a lot of her style from Nelly G surprisingly.
I have a lot of memories of hip-hop in the flesh from a young age. When I was 7 years old I went to this corner store called Yaffa’s with my uncle Rick late at night for some hot wings and met Biggie. Then when Junior M.A.F.I.A inked their deal they rode down Fulton St. hanging out of stretch limousine’s reciting “Player’s Anthem.” I would see Jeru The Damaja walking down Fulton everyday while I was coming home from school, getting Onyx & Das EFX autograph at Atlantic Antic, Pun’s first performance in Brooklyn.
One time me and my two little brothers were walking from Clinton Hill to the South Streets and Erykah Badu signed autographs for all three of us in front of her brownstone. Then another time I caught her and 3Stacks (Andre 3000) going to the designer Moshood’s store to buy dope handmade African Fashion. I’ve even met Jay Electronica on the same strip we hustled on. Even while I was playing baseball back in the day, I grew up going at it with Spike Lee’s baby brother. Mos Def, Common, Talib, I’ve seen them all just growing up in Burnieville.
How would you say your hood differs from other hoods in Brooklyn?
If I had to describe it, think of Brooklyn like a sports or concert arena. Downtown is like having floor seats to an event. Everything is downtown, all the action and money is downtown, everyone comes downtown, at some point you gotta pass through one of the hoods that make up downtown; The Hills, South Streets, The Heights, The Fort, The Gut, Park Slope, The Coff, The G, The Hook, even ritzy ass Brooklyn Heights & Borough Hall all make up downtown. So we have a collective of lifestyles, cultures, cuisine, art, the good bad pretty & ugly as I say… it’s all here!
I’ve been places but nothing is as diverse as the neighborhoods from Downtown Brooklyn, everyone in the town know it. I think from the way the neighborhood has become publicly gentrified and redesigned over the past twelve years, folks tend to forget the bullshit that still come with being here since its starting to look good to the naked eye. We still here though, my great grandfather obtained our house in the 50’s, it was part of his wages from contribution to the contraction of Prospect Park. So my family has seen this place transform over a long period of time.
Your Team Fame GVNG members all seem to live in different states, when did you decide to clique up and how do you think this arrangement benefits you?
You know it naturally happened that way, I don’t think it was ever something that was set out to be done, but as it started forming it was very visible as to where this could actually go. When I launched Team Fame Music Group, LLC in March 2015, Team Fame GVNG had already been established as a “clique” as some say; locally and within the NYC mixtape scene since back in 2005, you can look it up.
The original members and I grew as men and they all eventually went on the launch successful brands and labels themselves. Salute to my younger brothers for that. We all leveled up together as businessmen. When I announced the label was officially formed it was literally just me. I met 318Cha$e (from Ruston, LA) two weeks later on twitter. We liked each other’s projects that we dropped and we began building. I told him about my vision for the team and he was the first artist to come on the label. Fetty (Bronx, NY) and I grew up together, we got 20 years in, that’s my brother from another! He came on board next and we rocked out from 2015-2018 with just us three, all touring and building this company.
Through street and family ties Mak P (Baltimore, MD) and I met and just got in tune with one another on some street shit. I heard Mak rap and was like “let’s work!” We did a joint called “Louie Red Rag” prod by Bloodblixing (off that RedRum EP available via Bandcamp) that charted on Insomniac Magazine and the chemistry worked. After that I wanted to focus on developing a signature sound as a squad and break away from the typical sounding shit; A few days later, Mak put me onto Ecto84 (South Bend, IN) and from the first beat tape I heard I was sold. Eddie Word (Oakland, CA) sent me beats for a tape that would later become the Bity Boys EP. Having already built a solid relationship with Eddie I felt he had exactly what we needed to be complete. The rest is history as its being documented each day that go by.
I read that you toured with Beanie Sigel a few years back, is there any advice or interactions with him that stuck with you as you built your own career?
Yes touring with Beanie Sigel in 2016 was MAJOR for me! Shoutout to AD The General (RIP) her loss was sad, but AD was someone my brother Haze plugged me in with in 2016. She felt my grind and from hearing my story as an artist she reached out me knowing Sigel is my favorite artist next to B.I.G. I have a strong buzz & faction for TFMG in Tampa; so when she was setting up the tour for Beans she reached out for me to open up and of course I couldn’t say no. So for a few days I was blessed to bust it up with who I consider to be a G.O.A.T.
When I slid him my CD and shit in Miami we got to chop it up on the roof-top of the Hotel and chill. I got to tell him how much his music was in my DNA as an artist. He gave me a lotta game and we did it big at the after-party for the final show in the Yams. Basically it was good to have your favorite rapper embrace you as an individual first as well as an artist; dope tour opening up for him. It was an honor even more when he hit me on FaceTime bugging off my 2015 release of A Stoner Life (Reissued via Bandcamp 2018).
The beat for “New Young G’z” is basically a DITC beat, why did you decide to flip that and how did you link up with Eddie Kaine?
I always loved that beat, both the D.I.T.C original cut and Biggie, Jay-Z & Puffy “Young G’s”. I never chose to make beats, that’s not my role in this arena, so when I met WavyDaGhawd at my New Golden Era show in October 2018, we got in tune with one another heavy and I became a real fan of his work.
He had moved to Brooklyn, so when I built my studio he was actually the first person who came through. Every damn morning Wavy was waking me up to get it in, so I asked him if he could flip the beat for me and just bring the bpm a bit faster to what a kid of today’s ears would wanna hear. He was reluctant at first actually because Wavy has an acquired ear but I always wanted that beat. I had to have it on my album to pay that homage to Biggie for my mother neighborhood, Jay for my father neighborhood and D.I.T.C for being pioneers of the Golden Era.
So we crafted that joint out and I rocked my verse to it and sent it to Kaine to do what he do. I actually heard of Kaine before meeting him and didn’t realize it was him, but my homie Rim linked us up at my New Golden Era show as well. We had the entire NYC underground scene under one roof that night and a lotta connections were formally made, and we had shit on tilt ever since. They can’t deny it, Brooklyn is back!
I understand you have three daughters, correct? Do they ever hear your music (even the explicit stuff) and what kind of music do you let them listen to?
Yes that is correct I’m a proud father of 3 beautiful Black Queens. My kids definitely hear my music, my oldest is 10 and my twins are 4, they’re very aware of what I do for a living. You know as time went on I notice that my profanity within my bars have diminished more and more, so that’s a blessing and a testament to their ears. My children listen to everything and everyone, I personally like to let them be exposed to some of this nonsense and pick it for themselves. I’m cultivating Queens not iRobots. So there isn’t a set agenda they’re still children and young girls so they want to have fun too.
Mostly in the household we play the stuff me and their mother grew up on, RocAFella, BadBoy, 90’s R&B, I’m heavy on “Oldies”, 80’s Rock and like mid 90’s grunge scene shit… Nirvana is hands down my favorite band next to the Jackson 5. But my oldest daughter will tell you “Daddy says this is a TDE household, we only play TDE in here!” It’s our little family joke and stuff, all of us go crazy over anything that comes out of that camp. My oldest daughter Bossy was heavy into Drake and Big Sean, but she going into Middle School now so “she with the Gang, she wit the Mob”, you know that song? If it move the kids it’s hot! But they know what is lyricism as opposed to fun music.
Can you tell us the story of how you spit for Sway on the street and got on the Fire Cypher?
I had met Sway the same damn night I got laid off from my job at the time! I was just home with the kids and wasn’t really trying to be in the house so when they went to sleep I had walked down the way right quick to find some bud. As I started to walk back I decided to go check my mother and grandma.
The Barclay’s Center is literally on the corner so as I am walking down the block I see 3 people walking down my block and they looking unfamiliar. When I got to my house I was in the process of turning my key but kept turning my head to see who was walking by. Typical Brooklyn bullshit, but I realize its Sway. I’m on the phone with one of my homies and I’m asking him” should I say something?” He gas me up so I go “Yo that Sway?!” He replied “Yeah!…its Sway” but I wasn’t sure because he didn’t have dreads anymore under that hat. I brushed it off and said “Yo let me rap for you!” but I’m walking halfway in the door as I’m saying this; thinking he would say no. But he said “Yeah wassup?” and stopped.
I ran down the steps because at this point now we yelling towards each other in project voices because he is a couple houses down. So I ran down the block and was out of breath and had Sway, Rich Nice & Kelly Kinkaid cracking up! I caught my breath and he said “Aight now, let me get 16” I smirked and gave him about 50 clips. He smirked back and said he wanted to bring me on the show immediately but couldn’t find a spot. He promised me give him 30 days the most, I told him once we exchange numbers I’m going to be a pain in his ass to get on that show, but I didn’t even have to. Sway was a man of his word, I was up there in 3 weeks.
Funny shit about all this is that the next morning, I’m at work and Rich Nice calls my phone. He tells me “Yo we just was talking about you live on air and how you ran down on us with Bars, you definitely coming up here don’t worry Burns”. So I let nature take its course and since then a different light has shined on me regionally. Then it grew coastal, then bi-coastal, now it’s at global heights and it’s mostly leads back to that night on the South Streets. Gotta stay in line, in order for the stars to align.
What’s next for you in 2019?
No letting up! I’m already three titles in this year: From Me 2 U EP, Juanita Boys (Concept Album) & Burnieville. I built a different lane for myself. What we are creating with this consortium of creatives under TFMG is like none other. We embody this DIY lifestyle; it’s not a trend to us. I feel that I set the tone for everyone. I’m not here to play and neither are my brothers. Each one of us has our own individual brands under the TFMG umbrella that I back 110%. Through my executive production and A&R talents I plan on showcasing my brothers solo releases this year;
I plan to show the world its more to K.Burns than just music. This started out as a vision and it’s turned into a full blown reality. I will continue to give the fans unapologetic music and I will continue to show everyone I’m the best storyteller out right now hands down. If BOTH versions of Juanita that’s floating around the net don’t show it, then clean your ears out. Continue to watch me grow as well musically, artistically with my cover designs I do, my fashion collections I release and my visuals I’m currently directing and editing. TheGVNG is straight, the affiliations are solidified and we staying sucker free. If you talking partnerships we can talk, if not, I’m too focused building with 318Cha$e, Fetty, Mak P, Ecto84 & Eddie Word on how we going to continue to grow to heights we never even imagined. S/O to TFMG:jpn (Japan). Thanks to ALL THE SUPPORTERS WORLDWIDE.
Download Burnieville here: https://kburns.bandcamp.com/album/burnieville-lp
Buy Burnieville on CD here: https://www.avntgrde.net/burnieville-cd-issue
Buy Burnieville vinyl pressing here: https://www.avntgrde.net/burnieville-vinyl-issues