Q&A with Key Nyata
Around the world, deep, deep underground, there’s a movement swelling, and Key Nyata is playing a part in it. At the outset of his fledgling career, the 18-year-old Garfield High student connected with the Raider Klan, a loose collective of young rappers and producers that gravitate toward bass-heavy, narcoticized beats and cynical, narcissistic lyrics, a sound modeled by a rapper/producer in Miami who goes by the name SpaceGhostPurrp. It’s a very young man’s game, and at the moment, Nyata is its sole practitioner in Seattle—an outsider musician embracing an outsider style. Friday, Oct. 19, Neumos
What attracts you to the Raider Klan style?
It’s not really that I’m attracted to it. It’s just what I am. It’s how I feel. I’m a Raider inside and out.
What did you grow up listening to?
I grew up listening to music from everywhere—Southern shit, East Coast shit but mostly West Coast shit. A lot of underground ’90s rap and late-’80s rap. Some jazz singers, ’90s R&B. And this is what I still listen too. Plus some of the homies—BRK [Black Raider Klan] of course, [Seattle collective] Moor Gang, Odd Future, etc.
What’s your biggest non-musical influence?
Is there a connection between Seattle and Miami?
I’ve been to both and there’s no big similarities.
You got attention nationally before being noticed in Seattle. How did that happen?
Instead of starting off in my city, I just used the Internet. Eventually people caught on with the help of the Klan and all that, and growth is still happening. BRK is finna blow up.
You’re playing Heineken City Arts Fest with Fresh Espresso and Kingdom Crumbs. Do you know those guys? Have you played together before?
I know Jarv Dee from Kingdom Crumbs but that’s it. Jarv is like my big bro, and I’ve never actually heard Fresh Espresso’s music.
How do you prepare for a live set? What’s your style of performance? You make a lot of your own beats—do you need a DJ or hype guy onstage?
Usually I just try to chill out, make sure I eat and drink something. But I don’t really know my style of performance! And all I need is a DJ. Hype man is cool but I don’t need it.
Photo by Steve Korn.