Kuntry Kali carries an infectious persona. His movement operates at the speed of opportunity and it is clear that he puts forth work with pure intentions. Creating a life for himself has provided chances to bounce around from D.C. to L.A. and ATL – we took a moment to chop it up with this talented man and here is the conversation that unfolded.
Fresh News Now: As an in-house designer for All Verb No Convo clothing, what has your creative processes been like?
Kuntry Kali: All Verb No Convo speaks for itself. All action no talk. When I moved out to Cali, Thorn hit me up like, “Bro we should have a bear market, so all the patches can have a bear on it.” I’m in my second year now back and forth between ATL & LA. The creative process comes from pretty much whatever I see. I watch TV shows, get inspiration, draw things and then we just make it happen.
FNN: Before you put any piece of content out, what does the incubator look like? Specifically with your most recent basketball shorts. I find that a lot of people go that route, but I found your take to be very refreshing. Could you take us through the angle you decided to pursue?
KK: All action. We could talk, but what action are you putting in? Every piece of clothing I made for the summer went with that in mind. So I chose hobbies. The material I used was French terry cotton. I thought, “All we really got to do is go play ball, bruh.” My purpose and angle with the video was we can play ball, we ain’t got to talk at all and then I did the voiceovers myself.
FNN: What is the menacestration?
KK: My cousin and I used to call ourselves Menace2. Not necessarily a bad thing, just a menace to anything that we do. We don’t conform to certain things. Menacestration sounds like administration. The menacestration is an umbrella of clothing, music, media, videos, commercials etc.
FNN: Okay, so how has your work on the HBO show, “Insecure” encouraged videos like you were just talking about?
KK: Being on set was crazy, I met Issa [Rae] of course but I met Vince Staples too. We chopped it up for a good 20 minutes. He told me if I’m going to be doing music, clothes, acting – you just really have to step outside the box and give it your all.
Also, how they manipulate the cameras and make things happen – they had a fake sun and a fake moon! Seeing how you can manipulate small areas, all angles and the way they shoot it really helped.
FNN: You said, “Chase what you deserve. If it’s easy it ain’t worth having.” How do you do work worth doing and what really drives you?
KK: You have to know what you want and know where you’re going. If you’re living for the now, you might not motivate yourself. I don’t work [a regular job] I got to sell my clothes, my songs – I have to hustle for that. I enjoy it, so when it gets hard and I start to think if it’s even worth it I just think about the future. If you thinking for the now, it’s never going to be easy.
FNN: Would you say your kinship affects your penmanship?
KK: Yes for sure.
FNN: What got you started and really started moving your pen?
KK: Jay-Z was the first person that made me want to rap. To me it wasn’t just music, it was knowledge. Writing is an indication of your personality. Jay made me want to write. People like Nipsey and Wiz Khalifa, also. Like when Wiz used to do the DayToday videos. You remember those?
FNN: Of course! That’s how I got my Mane N Tail shampoo!
KK: Oh forreal?! [Outburst of laughter] That’s hard! Yeah they started from the bottom. They were on tour in a Camry, then it went to a Tahoe, then a sprinter, then a tour bus. They stayed themselves the whole time.
FNN: You said, “I’m not missing in action. I’m just moving in silence.” What does that look like?
KK: You picking out some shxt, boy! That’s crazy [laughter] How can I explain it? I don’t show a lot. The people I’m down here in Atlanta with are into social media. They tell me all the time, “Use your story more, use Twitter more.” I don’t. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just live in the moment.
FNN: What else have you been up to?
KK: I actually just wrote a movie. The whole message is about us being on our phones 24/7 and not living in the moment. [In the movie] our phones show us different things and it’s a mind twister. Being in the moment is the biggest message.
FNN: Did you write it sort of like a Jordan Peele would write it? Are you trying to pitch it to different distribution companies?
KK: Funny thing – I’m in the crib about 1:30 in the morning. I’m about to Airdrop a beat from my phone into the computer so I can record. Right? And I’m like Damn! What if someone else’s name popped up? It would f*** me up because ain’t nobody else here! I got to thinking – what if it was a horror movie in the woods and an Airdrop come through?
FNN: What was the process like?
KK: Just from me trying to work. I do want to write it like a short film. I’m working with DCP Kane and am trying to get it in Sundance Film Festival.
FNN: So we’re talking art dedicated to the arts.
KK: For sure! I just shot my first movie yesterday, too.
FNN: Wrapping up – what does it truly mean to be a media menace?
KK: You got to do whatever to make yourself known! A menace is always in, not conforming, trying to do different things that you don’t see everyday. We want to show that there’s a different way to do whatever we want. You can always succeed.
Indeed, there are a myriad of ways to reach success. Kuntry Kali has his hands in many different pockets and his personality will certainly carry him to unforeseen heights. Peace.