Kirk Knight has one of those young minds that makes the future look a little less frightening. He's smart, talented and intuitive. He reads, observes and calculates; a student and a creator. The 19-year-old Brooklyn Pro Era/Cinematic rapper and producer, although humble enough to admit that he doesn't have it all figured out just, speaks passionately and precisely about the things he's certain of: Pro Era has grown up. Music should make you feel things. And the best is yet to come.

With just a listen to the Flatbush artist's long-awaited debut album, Late Knight Special - a product of those studies, observations and calculations - it's easy to believe him.

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Late Knight Special. You've called it the biggest blessing and risk that you've ever created in your life. Why is that?

I was opening up another chapter in music and telling people more about me. I'm a person that doesn't really like to talk a lot about myself, but could talk for hours. That's how I felt like it was a risk, but it was a blessing, because everything that I need and all the good I'm reaching for is starting to be achieved.

I read that when it comes to your writing process, you start by thinking about what you want to say and what you want to narrate as soon as you hear the beat. So when it came to your debut project now, how did that process change and what did you want to say and narrate cohesively?

I wanted the record to have more faith. I wanted my songs to actually be songs instead of 16s and 32s and 24s. I really wanted topics like being alone, or topics of hopeless romantics having one night stands that last forever. Those are little experiences in my life that I'm trying to explain.

On the project, there's 12 tracks with 12 very different vibes and sounds, yet there's a structure stemming from your storytelling abilities and youthful energy. How important was it to you to have that variety and that consistency and what was the process of trying to balance that?

I listen to a lot of different types of music and R&B is one of those things that really helped me when making this project. Frank Ocean is one of my favourite artists. And just off the fact that he says that you don't need a double entendre to hit hard. It's more about the feeling. That's what I was trying to give in terms of my lyrics and in terms of how you hear it all together. That's how I wanted to make it cohesive in terms of using melodies and softer tones. Also, I wanted to build on the genres. I listen to a lot of music. I started off listening to Calvin Harris and Yellowcard and Hawthorne Heights. I was trying to add those elements into hip-hop, while breaking out of the barriers that people put on Pro Era and say, "Oh, they can only make this type of music." Those are the things that I was thinking about while making the project. If I put that much attention into diversifying all of the songs, it gives Pro Era a bigger sound range to attack in the future. I make the foundation for now so when I make newer music I really want to achieve, the people will see where the idea first stemmed from.

That's a lot of weight on your shoulders.

I know, especially for a 19-year-old. My mom even tells me that. I just mindlessly do it.

Right off the bat, I was fascinated by the album's intro and the clip you used from Afrofuturist philosopher Sun Ra, and how he details his plan to transport Earth's oppressed Black population to a safe haven on another planet. Many people might not know that from hearing the clip, so why that was so important to include for you?

My engineer, he's an OG and he's the one that put me on to Sun Ra. What really caught my eye was he believed that music was the fuel for us in that other planet from people being oppressed. I was like, why would he think that music would be the fuel? That was just interesting. I'm still trying to grasp Sun Ra's philosophy on certain things. Rome wasn't built in a day. But just because he believed music was the fuel of something of that importance made me really honour the fact that I have the ability to produce and write music. It made me think that this is bigger than music. You have to touch more than people that like slick lyrics. You have to touch people that have lost faith in life. I have kids coming up to me being like, "It's amazing, you're two years older than me. You're doing all these amazing things and I can't figure out what I want to do." These are all the things I thought about when I saw the clip and it's exactly why I put it in there. I felt like, people are losing that feeling that music is supposed to make you feel.

I love talking to young minds and young artists like yourself, Joey Bada$$, Raury and Mick Jenkins. You guys are super-young, readers and constantly seeking knowledge. What are some other pieces of writing, film or music that offered insight to you that can also be reflected in your recent work?

Actually Vic Mensa put me on to this book called Revolutionary Suicide and basically it's about a person in solitary confinement who has to master his mind and really look back on memories, because once you're in solitary confinement, that's it. Things like that inspire me, because that's about maintaining a steady meditative focus to be able to think about when you were six when you're now 26 in solitary confinement. It made me think like, I can focus on something so hard that I can create things how I want them. That's how I feel about producing and writing songs. I make the beat, I make the melody and the feeling of what I want to rap on and then I just rap about it.

On your songs '5 minutes,' in the hook you mention that you have problems that you can't get away from. What are some hindrances that have followed you through your career and still pop up?

There are sometimes that I have wishes, I wonder what would have happened if I really became a chemist. What if I didn't do music at all and just became a chemist? How different would my life be? Sometimes, I think about the women in my past relationships. I think about [the late Capital] Steez. I still don't believe he's dead. Those are just pills of truth you have to swallow. I even regretted how I moved out when I was 17. I never got to save some of the music money that I was making, because I had responsibilities at a young age. These are things I still think about.

You also tweeted about your goals being far from you. What are those goals that you still feel far from and what is success to you?

Having an amazing house with an amazing home studio. Every time I made projects, some of the files were scattered, just in terms of song periods. Some songs are older than some songs. Some are two years old and people don't know that I had to revamp them.

But that's not always a bad thing when a timeless track is a timeless track.

Exactly. That's what let me know my music was good. I wasn't getting tired of listening to it. But some other goals are, actually being recognized for doing some amazing collaborations. I love collaborations, because you're taking an artist from one part of the world or bringing them to their world. I want to do award show performances. I always thought that was cool. Not the corny ones, but Jimmy Fallon and late night shows. I find those amazing.

Your album is called Late Knight Special, so that could work out nicely.

I know. I'm praying. I would perform 'The Future' and 'Down.' That would be amazing.

You stated before that people have a hard time picturing Pro Era growing up and some continue to put the collective in a '90s hip-hop box. How do you describe the place that both you and Pro Era are in at the moment?

We're getting to a place where we have responsibilities, not just in our music but in our personal lives. We have more experiences to talk about. Yes, we're young, but we're older. We have older things to talk about. We're not going to stay in the same mind-state. We can talk about third-eye stuff all day, but at the end of the day, it's about keeping the message and concealing it and finding a different way to give it to the people. In the time of the internet, you're forced to grow up. Even though we're young, we're old in spirit.