I never had aspirations to be a rapper, but I wanted a record deal. Not to Sony, not to Def Jam, not to Def Jux, but I always dreamed of being signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. I wanted to floss that chain, I wanted beats from Just Blaze, and I wanted that moment of hearing Dame introduce me on "Champions." If Twista was the power forward, I would’ve gladly been the water boy. That was a moment in history that defined “cool.” The Roc’s downfall is well documented, so what would be its modern day equivalent? Especially during the rise of independence in the industry, what label has the allure to entice a young artist to seek their umbrella? MMG is cool, OVO is noteworthy, Young Money/Cash Money is ..., TDE is young but growing, and Mass Appeal is building an incredible foundation, but G.O.O.D Music truly has all the qualities that would make you sign on the dotted lines.
Who wouldn’t want Kanye’s tutelage and Donda’s creative perspective? Ye took Chief Keef from Chicago’s Most Wanted to a household name, Travis $cott was just a dream chaser before Yeezy changed his life, Big Sean was nowhere near famous and two chains is all Titty Boy could afford before Ye inducted him into la famila. Kanye's endorsement is career sparking, fans embrace his rare selection as a promise of stardom, that this artist conceals the potential to rap lightning and sing thunder.
Last month, it was announced that someone new has been brought into King Kanye’s prestigious court, and almost no one seemed to notice. After all, Kacy Hill is 20-years-old and practically unknown. Still though, it wasn’t long before the blogs plastered her music video on their front pages; it wasn’t hard to choose what song to post, only one existed on the internet. On her SoundCloud and her YouTube, the only song to be found is entitled, "Experience." I don’t judge a book by its cover, and I don't judge an artist by their single, so I searched for anything previously released. I looked for EP's, mixtapes, even a collection of loose singles – just a solid body of work that I could engross myself in. To my surprise, it seems like "Experience" is one of the first songs she ever wrote, recorded on a kitchen table with a little USB microphone with producer Jaylien Wesley.
Even that small amount of information was hard to come by though - it was as if most of Kacy's internet history had been scrubbed free before she signed to G.O.O.D. So I started digging, and the more I found out about her backstory, the more I uncovered an artist worth keeping your ears on.
Kacy’s humble beginnings start in Phoenix, her hometown, where she attended Arizona School of the Arts. Despite being able to play the oboe, saxophone, and singing in the choir, Kacy’s knowledge of classical music didn’t nudge her toward making music. At the age of 16 she got offered an internship with a wedding photographer and this unexpectedly opened up the door to her modeling career. She went from behind the camera, to the forefront due to photographers in Phoenix wanting to immortalize her face. After graduation, she wanted to take some time off before pursuing higher education, and moved to Los Angeles by her lonesome. There her modeling reached new heights, signing to M Model Management in West Hollywood. She eventually become a face for American Apparel, the results of this steamy partnership is popular all over Tumblr. The good times continued to roll as she got accepted to join Kanye's upcoming Yeezus tour as one of his underling extras. If you attended the Yeezus show, you’re familiar with the masked beings that danced around and even held Kanye to the heavens at one point. Yep, Kacy was amongst that group of nameless, faceless women.
Her story reminds me of Kilo Kish, another imaginative spirit that started off modeling, but due to having room-mates with an in-house studio found music to be a creative outlet. Ironically, it was a photographer that got Kacy into recording music. The very same man that eventually directed the music video for "Experience," Stephen Garnett. Instagram brought the two together, during a shoot, Kacy sung to herself catching Stephen’s ear, and he requested her assistance for a musical project. She sat down with friend and collaborator Jaylien Wesley, well known for co-writing will.i.am’s "Scream & Shout." The two started to churn music out, fast-forward into December of 2014, with only one song released, the young women joins the G.O.O.D Music family. She wasn’t chasing a career, but simply stumbled upon music as a passionate form of expression. Going from assistant photographer to model, from background dancer to major label artist, the entire story feels like a surreal, modern-day fairytale.
There’s one part of her story that I find extremely interesting. "Experience" was released in September, some blogs noticed early, PigeonsandPlanes even ran a small feature. Of course it blew up to new proportions once her deal with G.O.O.D Music was announced in December. Yet, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll notice that "Experience" was previously released in December of 2013. The same song, the same visuals but the attention it received was less than minimal. The originally link was later deleted, but there’s a post on DefPenRadio from the 10th of December that still has a working link of the video. Now why would they re-release the song a year later as new? The plot thickens.
I taken us through the brief history of Kacy Hill, but I’ve yet to give my thoughts on "Experience." My first impression was a bit puzzled, I didn’t expect a high pitch falsetto and futuristic-pop production. There’s elements that reminds me of FKA twigs, but also feels like a sound that exist in a separate universe. Her lyrics are told in the form of a Tercet, poetic and simple, but embedded with feeling and depth. Otherworldly seems to be the blogsphere consensus, a fitting description to champion her unique sound. I don’t have a label to place on this, but Kacy would probably say, “I make music you don't know about.” I found it intriguing, that the video for "Experience" focus on spaceships and solely Kacy's striking green eyes from behind a futuristic visor, freckled face, slightly gapped front teeth, and pierced nose. A former model’s debut music video, and she doesn’t flaunt her body. This has to be a first in music history.
"Experience" makes it hard to truly place judgment on Kacy’s placement in the G.O.O.D. palace. I could deem her talented or grotesque, but that would be irresponsible to place such a pre-mature judgement. I do flirt with the idea of if her gentle but gripping voice would have amplified Yeezus, Days Before Rodeo, and VII. It's really hard to call. I’m interested in seeing how they build her debut though, I’m certain Jaylien Wesley will have a huge influence. Travis $cott might deliver some synthy magic for the newest addition. Vic Mensa’s frequent collaborator, Michael Uzowuru seems to be good friends with her, I’d be excited to see what she would do over his production, especially Allen Park, Mi.
I’ll admit, I'm intrigued by Kacy Hill the artist. Her life has been filled with adventure and risk, moving to Los Angeles on a whim, being a part of the Yeezus tour, she has a story worth exploring. I can’t predict if she’ll be the next biggest star or a momentary topic, but she seems worriless about the pressure of critics. This is just another form of expression for her, like modeling and photography. A new challenger approaches, unpredictable, mysterious, and carries the blessings of Yeezus. Lets see if Kanye takes her from American Apparel to America's sweetheart
“Success is measured not by the length of a career but by the length of your email signature” – Kacy Hill
"A song which has the dichotomy of being at once vast and wholly intimate, ‘Experience’ is one of the first tracks which Kacy made, having found herself writing music by accident. An otherworldly vocal and futuristic production is matched by a compelling visual, inspired by the intricacies of being human and our ability to think into detail and absorb meaning behind subconscious and conscious action" - From Kacy's site
[By Yoh, aka Suge Yoh, @Yoh31]