Kajmir Royale on placing beats with Wiz Khalifa and how he's about to Kanye the game
Meet Kajmir Royale. He lives in Colorado Springs, but his view is global, his perspective dynamic and charismatic. Taking a Kanye West approach to the game with a goal of making "popular music," Royale is an MC/producer who's hitting his stride and knows exactly where he's going. Originally from New Jersey, Royale has lived in Colorado for the past seven years, with five of those being in the Springs, where he moved to focus on music and hone his LEA (League of Extraordinary Artists) brand -- and train. "They have the Olympic training center down in Colorado Springs because there's nothing to do except train," notes Royale with a laugh. "That's what I've been doing, just perfecting this music."
A military brat -- his mother is in the Navy -- Royale spent two years living in Denver before moving to the Springs, where he eventually hooked up with Kassanova, a singer-songwriter and engineer. The two found chemistry as soon as they started making music together, and they've been working together ever since.
Kassanova's experience comes from the church and from the different studios where he's engineered. Royale, on the other hand, built his name on his production skills. Nearly every artist who appears on Heir to the Throne has, at one point, used a Kajmir Royale beat.
"Most of the artists on the mixtape I've already worked with from a production capacity," says Royale of Heir, which features his stellar production and raps from some of the area's hottest MCs. "So I know what kinds of beats to put them on. That's one thing that puts me ahead, not just as an MC."
The production game has been solid for Royale for quite some time. He passed beats along to Wiz Khalifa back in the Pittsburgh MC's early days of rapping: "Wiz had a beat from me way back when I was just getting my name out there for making beats in the first place."
Kajmir Royale's upcoming full-length album, Light Up the Night, will be drastically different than Heir to the Throne. While the mixtape is geared toward the streets, Light Up the Night will be mostly pop music. "I know what kinds of up-tempo beats are being played in the clubs, and like Kanye says, I want to make popular music," says Royale. "That's giving the people what they want. A few people don't understand that I'm about to Kanye the whole game. The interesting part is that the people who want to work with me also want beats from me. I had tentatively been doing it as a hobby and a means of producing the art that I want."
While staying behind the beat machine works for many producers, for Royale, it's all about getting out his main passion and that's being on stage performing. That's where the MC says he comes most alive. "Rapping is more of me doing exactly what I want to do," says Royale. "My ultimate goal is to be touring. If I could set up a shop, bed, pillow, all of that, on stage, I'd be good. That's where I live. It's that passion to entertain people that I love."
"There's that saying: producers get all the credit, none of the shine," he adds. "I could just imagine Kanye making beats for Dame Dash and feeling like he could do so much better than the guys who got to rap over them. I let that fuel me to get out my creativity, and that's through being an MC. I consider myself a well-rounded artist."
Ed note: Headline amended to clarify Kajmir's beat placement.
Check out " Fuck the City Up," featuring Royale, Mr. Midas, AP and Rockie, from Heir to the Throne, and then download the entire mixtape.
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music