Kranium had one of the biggest successes in dancehall this year, as his hit songs "We Can" with Tory Lanez, "Meet and Beat" and "Can't Believe" with Ty dolla $ign and Wizkid have elevated him to international stardom. But his growing status hasn't let him forget his roots. Fuse is happy to premiere the artist's "Where I'm From" video, which is part of TIDAL's docu-series in collaboration with Appleton® Estate Jamaican Rum. As he wraps up 2017, Kranium spoke with Fuse about his next steps.
Read on for our chat with Kranium as he discusses his upcoming projects, how it feels to have support both overseas and in Jamaica, relationships and more.
FUSE: Why is now the right time to share your story with this TIDAL documentary?
Kranium: I wouldn’t say there’s a right timing or I waited long or whatever the case may be. I feel like there’s a disconnect where people don’t really understand my story. So the more I get the chance to express myself, the more everything begins to make sense.
We both come from Jamaican backgrounds, and rum and music are such big parts of our culture. Why do you think Appleton and dancehall work so well together?
We grew up on Appleton, and as you said rum is a very important part of dancehall. When they reached out to me it was a no-brainer. It’s dope to have me and Appleton doing this short documentary talking about dancehall and how influential it is.
You say in the video that America has had an influence on you. But do you think there’s more of an advantage because you have roots in both Jamaica and the States?
I wouldn’t say it works in my favor more. But I think we’re influenced by all our surroundings. Yuh haffi understand that not everybody knows how to adapt. So it’s not an advantage but more of me just accepting what things are learning how to use both ends to get my story across. Me dong music is actually telling my story. Whatever I sing is a story. It’s not an advantage, but me just incorporating it more.
And of course you had a huge year with “Can’t Believe” and “We Can.” How does it feel to gain this immediate reaction from people around the world?
It’s a great feeling man. As a kid growing up I dreamed of this moment. I talked about it in [my song] “Lifestyle,” I’ve been dreaming about my dream for a long time. I have a thing called patience and that’s the most important thing in music. I do as much as I can and then everything falls into place. I don’t really like to plan. I just do everything that I can in this specific moment and do it to the best of my ability. That’s why I feel like I’m reaping the goods from it.
A lot of the songs that people know are more party-oriented or geared for the ladies. Do you wish more people would see your musical versatility? You displayed that in your first album Rumors.
Most definitely. Artists are people who paint pictures through words, I would say. I think in due time people will get it, but I don’t know if I really do care 100 percent. I just feel like I do music. I don’t plan it. So if they want to say, “You’re versatile,” then it’s fine. But if I’m doing an album now and I’m going through a specific emotion, I’m gonna stay on that topic. I don’t try to fake it. But I think I have enough time where people will catch on to my diversity.
Are you working on a follow-up to Rumors right now?
I’m dropping an EP soon [The Sparks]. And it’s funny because I think we’ve reached a people where fans don’t even know the difference between an EP or an album. But I’m definitely dropping a body of work.
I asked Konshens this a few months ago too, but do you think fans support dancehall overseas more than they do in Jamaica?
Mi nuh think suh. It’s a balance between both. Remember it’s two different ways of showing support. In Jamaica there’s not enough outlets to purchase the music. But I will say when they’re really into an artist they follow that artist a lot on social media and go to the stage shows. You can’t say anything bad about their artist! I always tell everybody that I don’t think people support artists in Jamaica as much as the Jamaican people. Because when they come to show love, they really show some serious love.
What are your thoughts on the current state of dancehall? Do you think it can be improved or do you like where it’s at right now?
I mean everything in life can be improved. I will never settle with anything. I feel like dancehall is in a good space 100 percent because as we all see—who know the music and culture—we hear it every single day in all these big artists’ music. It’s doing great but I wish more dancehall artists would be accepted in the mainstream market to actually support and represent the music themselves rather than these artists overseas in the hip-hop, R&B and pop worlds. That’s the only thing I would say, there should be more dancehall artists on this major platform to represent for us.
One thing I’ve noticed throughout your career is that you’re not in the drama or get caught up in any of the hype. How do you remain so humble?
The reason why I feel a lot of artists don’t respect the art of music, they respect the music business—and I feel like that’s where a lot of the misunderstanding comes in. I respect music HARD. The music business is just a part of it, that’s just for management. I don’t think I have to do anything crazy for somebody to say, “Yo I like him” or “He’s dope.” I don’t have to go down the weird route. If it takes six months or a year fi ah song catch mi, I know when it DOES catch on it will be very effective. That’s who last longer—the ones who are actually true to music. If you treat music good, it will treat you good.
How would you like to improve yourself as an artist to be become even bigger than you are now?
It’s not something I could actually pinpoint, because I think that comes with a lot of time and growth. Growth is something that comes naturally, and then you make adjustments where if you see you’re doing something bad you’ll make it better next time. All I need to do is always grow and stay on the same level. Always learn from my mistakes and other’s mistakes. I can’t cry over spilled milk, as my grandmother always said.