Contributed by Sullivan Dildine, AMF Intern
Kydd Jones is as OG Austin as they come. While still attending Westwood high school he signed his first deal with Sony Records at the age of 15 in his first group, Impact. It was a huge achievement, even if it was under cut by poor management. “Our album dropped, but the finances weren’t there to support it.” said Jones. “We ended up signing to a fraudulent management company, and they ended up taking all our money.” Never one to be kept down, Kydd Jones quickly began the process of rebounding with a new group, the local hip-hop titans rap fans now know as the Leaders of the New Skool, or LNS Crew. It’s been a long journey to get where he is now, having played shows with Kendrick Lamar, Danny Brown and Yung Lean. He’s lived in New York and Atlanta, the city Jones calls “The Mecca of Hip-Hop.” After all of this, the G.O.A.T. has returned to his home turf, and he came back on the rampage.
Kydd Jones blew off the doors of Austin hip-hop with his return album Homecoming. The third full length album from Kydd saw the wordsmith combining the R&B flow he picked up in Brooklyn with his own signature relaxed drawl to create a version of himself listeners hadn’t ever heard before. Produced by Eric Dingus, another legendary Austin native, this effort ditches jazz in favor of a more electronic, dance-y approach that’s more fitting to today’s palette. Sitting at a cool 13 tracks, Homecoming plays like a collection of greatest hits, each song feels like a completed project on its own, and the diversity of arrangements keeps listeners on their toes. The album was a fantastic introduction to the evolved version of the artist Austin thought it knew, and Kydd’s innovation keeps flowing with his most recent singles.
On “Last Days” Kydd teams up with LNS members Tank Washington and Haris Qureshi along with Ike and Mez to contemplate the consequences of their personal and creative choices and whether or not it’s possible to find salvation while still trying to keep up with the rat race of modern society. Their flowing pontifications drip like honey over the steady, almost eerie synth loop that’s complimented by a heavy, droning beat. “Duck’d Off” sees Jones collaborating with fellow Texan Y2 on a bass heavy track that’s characterized by a bold, melodic sample that sounds like a warm synth sample being played backwards. Lyrically, the song describes the disdain Kydd has for the scene finds himself in. The track is walked out by an almost haunting sample to wake the listener up from a song that feels like a hazy dream.
The most recent single from Kydd Jones is actually a track from Homecoming, titled “Icon.” Wearing his Migos influence on his sleeve, Kydd is in rare form on this sure-fire club hit. Over a beat accentuated by reverb-drenched woodblock hits, Jones puts melody first in a catchy flow that acts as an effective glue between the beat and an atmospheric sample made up of two interweaving melodies. Clocking in at just over two minutes, the track is a compact little bop that’s sure to be a new staple for DJs up and down Sixth Street.
“My journey never stops because music is my only passion, my only goal.” says Kydd “As long as I’m doing music, I’m living.” Jones isn’t just talk, since day one he’s walked the walk and through all the success he’ll continue to have, it’s his dedication that makes him an icon.