21-year-old Kaalan Walker’s Instagram handle is an accurate assessment of his current reality: whokr, reads the innocuous title, a blue-check of verification floating beside it. It could be a question or it could be an announcement: The neophyte rapper currently has almost 60,000 followers, and a slew of young women determined to make him the father of their future children rabidly leaving heart-eye emojis in his comments. Yet that’s all fairly new – up until last year a Google search of “KR” would yield no personal information aside from Soundcloud and YouTube links to music.
Now it’s doubtful the Epic Records signee, who has been compared to Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino (much to his reluctance), will continue flying under the radar in 2017.
says KR, who first started posting song and dance videos on YouTube around the age of 16. “I spent a lot of time at home by myself because I was on punishment a lot; my grades weren’t the best so it was kind of like my social life was taken away but it made me focus on something more.” The result bred singles like, “Play My Shit,” which accrued over one million listens on Soundcloud with no promotion. KR is hoping to follow up on the success with his buoyant feature length album, It Could Happen, dropping this Friday, December 9.
Ahead of the album’s release, the rapper also premiered visuals for his single, “Read Your Mind.” The song features a classic Avant sample of the same name, so if you were all about the Midnight Love segment on BET back in the day, you’ll probably like this one.
We also sat down with KR to find out why he considers himself an expert YouTube marketer, and 14 more facts.
What could you spend all day doing?
Looking at YouTube videos. I learned so much from being on YouTube. I learned how to produce, make beats and do social media marketing.
How exactly did you finesse the YouTube system?
I basically thought I was a little PR firm when I was 16 or 17. It started out with me learning the YouTube algorithms because I used to jerk (the dance) and I was in a group. I did all of the titling for our dance videos, so basically I learned how to title and share for maximum views.
For my music, I’d find all the biggest artists – like Kendrick or Drake – and wait until they dropped a new song. When their songs come out the first day everyone would go to YouTube to listen to the “free” version. I’d take an old Kendrick song and remix it and then put it back up with “Kendrick Lamar” in the title. Everyone would think it was new Kendrick and then people would watch it and be like, “who is this kid?” The first 10 to 30 seconds you’re there you’d obviously realize, hey, this isn’t Kendrick.
I’d put links to my Twitter, Instagram and social handles in the bio so they could find out who I was. Basically, I strategically placed the songs so they would catch a little wind. Some people would be like, “this is fake,” but then some people would be like,”he’s tight,” so my followers started coming quietly from that. I did that until I had a few thousand fans and then I started to drop my own songs under my name.
What’s your strangest eating habit?
I’d have to say Danimals yogurt. My fridge is filled with Danimals of all flavors
Who is your style icon?
I don’t have a specific style icon. I just think people who dress nicely are cool. I’m big on regular clothing – I’ll wear A&F, thrift store stuff, anything. People who can take stuff like that and make it look like a million dollar outfit are the most stylish to me.
What’s your guilty TV pleasure?
Definitely Family Guy and Futurama.
Who are some musicians you love that might surprise your fans?
Avant for sure. Honestly, a lot of the artists I listen to aren’t even famous. I feel like sometimes when they’re not super huge that’s when they are being the most genuine. I listen to a lot of random stuff on Soundcloud and other places.
Do you play any sports? If so, which ones?
Yep, I play basketball and football.
What would you be doing if music hadn’t worked out?
Most likely I’d be doing photography just because I feel like I can tell stories through photos, just like you can through music. I shoot a lot of my own stuff which is another thing people sometimes don’t realize.
What’s one thing that really annoys you?
I tend to disconnect my personal life from my business life. It really irritates me when I meet people I look up to and they ignore me until they find out who I am.
What’s your favorite snack that you can actually make?
Toaster strudels and baked Poptarts.
Do you cook?
I mean… I make a mean cereal. I’m different like that…I also make a mean hotdog.
If you could change the title of any album or book what would you change it to and why?
I would’ve answered this back in 2000 right when Soulja Boy came out. I’d change his album name to Did Soulja Boy Ever Tell Em?
Who was your favorite musician growing up?
Where have you always wanted to travel?
I have to say London.
You can also get to know alt-crooner Gallant in 15 fast facts here.