Interview: That Kid Kearve Talks Growing Up In The West
Direct from Cranebrook.
Music 1y


That Kid Kearve has come a long way since posting webcam freestyles on Youtube at 15 years old.

Now 22, the Cranebrook rapper is hot off the back of releasing his first solo album. And that’s not to say he hasn’t been putting in the work. You could spend hours scrolling through his back catalogue of Youtube freestyles and you’d only be scratching the surface. Throw in singles, music videos, features and a collaborative album with TKO and Fortay which dropped in 2018, and that work rate is there to see. 

We caught up with That Kid Kearve to talk about the new album, MTV, TNs and eat really good but controversially priced garlic bread. Check out the full conversation below:

You’ve just dropped your debut solo album Growing up in the West. Start by telling us a bit about the project.

So it’s the first solo project I’ve put out but it’s the third project that I’ve actually put work into. So for me it’s already a massive accomplishment to have just dropped my first album. It’s all about growing up. Jimmy [the Gent] killed it with all the West Coast type beats. It felt like everything fell together perfectly. If you listen to every song, most of it is set from about the age of 16-18, even younger, but yeah it’s basically about growing up in the West.

You show your area a lot of love on the record. What are some of your fondest memories from growing up in Cranebrook?

Getting drunk. Running a muck around the area. Rapping. We would just have fun drinking and rapping. That’s where it all started. Just freestyling in parks. All of those memories.

So nights you half-remember. You shouted out Jimmy The Gent a second ago and touched on the fact that the album also has a West Coast feel to it. Is that the kind of hip hop that made you want to rap?

For sure. That’s one my biggest influences. I listen to all music though, so not even just all rap. But yeah that’s a style of music I have a lot of love for. I love that sound.

What’s the first Australian hip hop track that you remember really leaving an impression on you?

Probably ‘Greenline Rockin’, to be honest. Or Sesk and Dook. They did a song back in the day called ‘Stripey Popped Collars’. You never knew faces then either, there were just a couple of songs going around on Nokias. We also had boys in our area called FTA so it’s hard to choose between all of them. But probably one of those songs. Between the FTA boys, Dook and Sesk, and NTER.

Which Nokia did you have?


And all those artists you just named are from the West. Let’s talk about work rate out there – because NTER who you just spoke about has it, Fortay is another great example – a lot of artists from the West seem to have this hustler’s mentality and this desire to constantly get new music out. Why do you think that is?

Man, I just love making music. I have a lot of music that’s not even out. One of the tracks on the album, ‘Killer Poetry’, I recorded that in 2017. That felt right on this album but I’ve got lots [of music] that’s sitting around still that doesn’t even get out. I’m always writing. Even if I wasn’t making money from it or anything, I’d still be rapping at the end of the day.

A big part of your story, or at least the start of your story, are the Youtube freestyles which you started doing at 15. At the time, it was pretty divisive with some people quick to see your potential and others just as quick to write you off because of your age and how you presented yourself. I imagine that would have been difficult for you at times. How did you navigate those challenges, and what was your attitude towards overcoming that?

Yeah it was. It just blew it up. The first clip that I ever did on the webcam, I think it’s over 400,000 views now. So back then, it was massive straight away, and I was a lad. Back then, everyone hated lads! You know what I mean? Like, they did. As soon as you’d see the mullet and what I’d talk about no one really wanted to listen. But I’m thankful that it did happen because I wouldn’t still be rapping. It pushed me harder and made me want to keep going.

I just had to take what they were saying and turn it around. I used to always think and tell people that Tupac and Eminem didn’t start out being great. No one starts out great at anything they do and you’ve got to work towards it. I always had that mentality.

What draws a lot of people to hip hop is how unfiltered it is and how defiant it is. But you had to be defiant and resilient within the system that you were expressing yourself – constantly defying people within the hip hop community. How does it feel now to have a good team around you and have your first solo album out there?

So good. I think it was in 2017, I got halfway through an album that I was doing and I ended up just cutting a lot of songs off. I wasn’t happy with it. A few years before that I did a song with Nebs. I actually did six songs with him and we were halfway through an album and we both just got busy with other stuff and never ended up finishing it. So this one is finally done and it’s out there. It’s mad.

Was there a moment between then and now that you realised,  100% this is what I want to do? Or did you always know?

Well I quit my job last year. That made me want it even more. And I’ve made more music in the last year than ever, including features and everything, and the album with TKO and Fortay last year. Last year I just went my hardest. Because I can see all the potential that is in Australia now and how big the scene is getting and I know it’s worth putting work into it. It can happen.

What’s exciting you in Australian hip hop right now?

How big it’s going to be. There’s so many different kinds of rappers. It’s getting to be more like America. Over there everyone’s getting paid and getting heard and soon that’s what it’s going to be like here.

I know you like your shoes. Settle an all-time debate: Kayanos or TNs?

TNs. I can’t wear any other shoe. I’ve only worn TNs since I was 12. I like other shoes, but if I try them on they don’t suit me. Work boots and footy boots are the only other shoes I’ve worn. Straight up.

I was going to ask about your favourite sneakers but maybe tell me your favourite colourway.

Look, when I got into TNs, I’d never heard of a colourway in my life. All the talk about colourways only came in when everyone got into that TN page. TN talk. Well that’s when I started seeing all of the names. I remember thinking: “I’ve been wearing these for ten years and didn’t know any of their names.” But there’s too many of them to list. So many good TNs.

If you were to get your own sneaker collaboration – I’m assuming it’s going to be a TN – what would it look like?

I’ve got too many colours to get off. 100% it’s got to be a multi sneaker deal.

You just recently appeared on an Australian edition of ‘Yo! MTV Raps’, which is wild. What was that experience like? Until it actually happened I don’t think that was an opportunity really on any Australian artist’s radar.

It was crazy. I only got hit up a few days before! I was nervous as. That’s probably the most nervous I’ve ever been for a performance. I knew it was going on TV and there were cameras everywhere. But once I got into it I was fine. I loved it, it was mad.

Who called you with that news and what was that like?

Man, someone from MTV just sent me an email. Like an email. And that just gave me the whole run down about it and to see if I was keen. Obviously there was no way I was turning them down. How do you say no to MTV?

When can local fans see you next?

We’re working on that at the moment, trying to set up a tour for the album. As soon as that’s all sorted there will be dates out. Stay tuned. Always be checking.

Words by Declan Whelan May 30, 2019
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