Keyboard Kid is a Seattle producer who has been a principle force in the formation of a new era of hip-hop. This new era is defined not only by stepping in a different direction, but creating a different reality through music. As the world shifts into a new age defined both by humans and the technology that connects us Keyboard Kid embodies the unique cultivation of a set of skills, and the tireless refinement of an artistic craft in service of defining this new reality.

The kind of music created by Keyboard melds traditional hip-hop sensibilities from regional and local cultures--grounded in various musical traditions (chiefly those born of the Black Experience in the United States)--with the myriad articulations, the high resolution technicolor gradations, and celestial potentials of making music with computers in a culture of people empowered and connected through computers. We know what hip-hop sounds like in a world where the primary means of getting music is buying records, and the primary means of making music is using a costly sampler /keyboard and studio setup in a space that is very much separate from the quotidian affairs that defined life in that era. We also know what hip-hop sounded like as we transitioned out of that era. We know what hip-hop sounded like when affordable keyboards, samplers, and software combined with message boards, and blogs to birth an awkward era when a lot more people were making hip-hop music, but the results were representative of a culture in transition.

Keyboard Kid is the answer to what hip-hop sounds like in the contemporary era. While our society and culture at large are still in the midst of arriving in the new era, the work of Keyboard and similar artists is indicative of what that arrival sounds like. His collection of samples is always growing, and it is sourced from the ever-expanding internet. His collection of influences is likewise always growing and changing as it is defined by the nature of the internet. His art reflects all of this clearly, and it is articulated via a mind that is similarly pliable and adaptive to a rapidly-changing environment.

Listen to Keyboard Kid's beats and you may or may not notice that there are a few things missing. For one, he doesn't really have a "signature sound", at least not one that can be summed up on the same terms as his predecessors. While many of the most successful and recognized producers in hip-hop have a trademark sound (think Zaytoven, DJ Mustard, Lex Luger) that ultimately amounts to something somewhat novel in terms of music history, Keyboard has a trademark approach that yields varied fruits.

Keyboard uses different snares, different kicks, varied tempos, simple and complex melodies, dense and open compositions, synths and samples, and an ultimately flexible approach. His works are more so various transcriptions of an augmented reality than notes played in a particular order. Further, as much as Keyboard Kid rubs against many of the principle signifiers of his contemporaries he also eschews them. Keyboard Kid makes beats that fit right alongside his contemporaries, but his methods for achieving that sound are unlike those of his peers.

On his recent release Thankful, Keyboard is showcasing a more relaxed sound, but still emphasizing the dynamic drum programming found in hip-hop music today. Samples and synths get played, bent, stretched, chopped, re-routed, coaxed, downloaded, uploaded, found anew, and skilfully worked into producing compositions that easily bind to our most atavistic sensibilities eliciting an emotional response, and provide the mind a plane expanding and shimmering in resplendence, wherein we might find more of the world and more of ourselves. And in the same manner, music has given Keyboard the means to know more about himself and the world around him. In recent years releases like Under The Sea have given him the ability to create in a broader fashion, to explore further reaches of himself and the world by using words in addition to his instrumental works. Keyboard Kid's work as a rapper represents an evolution in the creative practice of a profound individual who continues to push himself to create art and redefine reality in this brave new world.

Whether you discovered Keyboard because he's been one of Lil B's go-to collaborators since the jump, you found his work via Thraxxhouse, or any of the other various means, eventually all of these facets of Keyboard Kid lead you to the same place: a holy experience of technology, art, and humanity. If you're looking for the hottest new sound in hip-hop, look no further. And if you're looking for an amazing contemporary artist using his skills to push the limits of what's possible and help to define a new era of humanity, again, look no further. His newest releases Thankful, and Under The Sea are available for download now.

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