Written interview with CRKX
Crystal: Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Crystallized Beats and I’m Crystal Amar. Tonight’s featured guest is CRKX out of Kuna, Idaho. Thanks so much for being on the show, man.
CRKX: Yeah, for sure. Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Crystal: You’re welcome. So why don’t you take a moment and describe how you developed your music style for us?
CRKX: Wow. Uh, well honestly, like I grew up with the metal head parents and I always grew up like eighties rock, that kind of thing. And obviously what was on the radio. I was born in 2000, so that was like the pop era, 2010s. And then, uh, I discovered X when he died XXXtentacion, uh, I believe that was June, 2018. Actually had quite an indifference about rap. I didn’t like it that much. I was not a fan at all, but when I, uh, spoke about him, his death on Facebook, I spoke about it in a negative way and a fan reached out to me and they basically said, I didn’t don’t know the whole story.
So, I looked up the whole story and sure as shit he was, uh, murdered in cold blood, there was nothing to it. He wasn’t just a stupid rapper on drugs, shit like that. Basically I was speaking cold on a dead man’s name and a dead man was teaching me something from the grave. And that was a smack in the face to me. And so I really looked into his life and I developed a love for rap and what he was doing. I don’t know if you’ve listened to him, but he’s a little bit more of a screamo type and then developed a softer tone towards the end. But that’s really where it all started.
Crystal: I’m a huge fan of triple X, like huge.
CRKX: That’s where it all started for me for real. Like he taught me a lesson and it caused me to be aware about a lot more things in my life.
Crystal: Right. Definitely. You know, he didn’t just have those, like, I mean he had his like gangsta, like want to be gangsta stuff. In my opinion, he was more of a gentle soul than he wanted to let on, you know?
Crystal: And one of the first things that I wrote for the blog was a story about him. It was through the eyes of his guardian angel.
CRKX: Yeah. That’s amazing, man. I love that. I’ve been all the way back into the depths of his SoundCloud. Like I’m a huge fan of X man. I’ve been all into it. Yeah.
Crystal: That’s cool. I do a lot of karaoke to his stuff. Actually, I should mention to you guys, that if my voice sounds weird today, I was doing system of a down karaoke this morning, so yeah.
CRKX: That will tell you everything.
Crystal: Feeling a little raspy right now. So, I wanted to talk about you growing up and going to the deaf schools and stuff and how that has, I mean, how has this come about with you rapping and, you know, being able to hear me and stuff?
CRKX: Yeah. Well, my mom is actually completely deaf. She has cochlear implants and the deafness in our family is generational. I’m going to have the same issue as I get older. I’m fortunate enough that I have more of my hearing at 20 years old. Um, but I did grow up going to the deaf school.
I grew up in a deaf family. So I’m fluent in sign and it’s always been music has always been important to me, especially because my dad is hearing and he is a guitarist. Like he can shred like no other man it’s crazy. So music was always been important to me throughout my entire life.
And I grew up in a deaf world, basically in the deaf culture. And I’ve always felt like it was two different worlds, but then discovering rap in my own kind of music journey, I’ve found that I’ve wanted to tie that together. It doesn’t have to be two different worlds. I should be able to go in front of one crowd, deaf or hearing, and everybody enjoys the sound that I make, the performance that I put on. I feel like that’s important.
Crystal: Right? Yeah. So you sign on your songs, right?
CRKX: Hell yeah. I’m trying to make my performances way more deaf, inclusive. Um, I need to invest in an inner ear monitor, so I can hear what’s going on on the stage, Because up until this point, I’ve been performing over my vocals so I can stay on beat, but I’ve recently learned that it’s not such a great thing. So I’m trying to invest in an inner ear monitor so I can hear everything, but the performance still sounds clear to the audience.
Crystal: Right? Yeah. That’s cool. I was actually going to ask you about live performances. Because you’re pretty young. So, when did you start performing?
CRKX: Shit,like this time last year, actually I performed at Caldwell king legend.
CRKX: Some little, small town shows, but I rock them. I love it. The comment I get the most about it is that I have energy on stage and I absolutely love it. I love being on stage.
Crystal: And do you have any shows coming up?
CRKX: Yes, actually I have this twin falls day one festival. It’s August 21st in twin falls. It’s a show put on by Rolling water and a couple other local artists here in Idaho. And then I’m also hosting my own show at the mystery bar in Hillsboro, Oregon. And that’s going to be a little bit of a charity show for Homeplate. I’m going to call it hip hop for home plate and it’s a coat and costume drive for the kids out there.
Crystal: Nice. That’s really, that’s pretty awesome. It’s pretty amazing of you actually. Do you have a date for that one yet?
CRKX: Yeah, October 13th. That’s going to be hosted by me and DJ lady X out of Hillsborough.
Crystal: Right. Cool. And guys, I’ll put her information in the article, so you can find her too. Awesome. All right. Word. So what’s the latest project that you released?
CRKX: The latest project I released was actually flysteppa. Uh, it was a little project I put out produced by AC Delgado out of twin falls.
Crystal: And what are you working on now?
CRKX: Right now? I’m about to put out this new EP called thank you for the heat and also produced by AC Delgado.
Crystal: Do you know like when that’s going to come out or is it in production
CRKX: Still in production. Mixing and mastering final touches are getting done, but I’m aiming for either the end of this month or beginning of September, if it pushes off towards the end. That’s fine. Because my birthday is September 29th. I’ll just drop a little, little birthday album or song. That’d be good.
Crystal: And Flysteppa, that’s obviously on all the streaming platforms, right?
CRKX: Oh yeah, for sure.
Crystal: And do you want to let everybody know what to look up to find you on the streaming platforms?
CRKX: Just look up CRKX.
Crystal: All right. Perfect. So what about like, I actually literally just started posting last night on Tik TOK. Right. I just felt like I’m too old to be posting on Tik TOK. Well, what happened was I got this new job and I’m the marketing manager and I was like, how else can I get their information out there? So I was like, fuck it. I’ll try Tik Tok. Right. I’m like, I can’t, it can’t hurt. You know? So I posted two videos on Tik TOK that I made for this company and they blew up.
I’m like, what, why am I not doing this for the blog? And the podcast? I have hundreds of videos that I’ve made for the blog and the podcast. So I started posting them last night and my Tik Tok is going crazy. So I’m like, awesome. Why didn’t I do this six months ago? You know? So you, you don’t really fuck with Tik TOK?
CRKX: Like honestly I have Tik Tok and I’ve had it for a while because everybody’s been messing with Tik TOK and I’ve seen artists blow up straight up after they, their song just gets famous on that site, but I literally have posted one thing and it’s my Flysteppa promo
Crystal: Really? The fucked up thing is I actually posted one of my songs that I made myself and Tik TOK copyrighted me and muted my video. And I don’t know how to like appeal it or anything. I’m like, what the hell? What the hell? They’re like this artist, claimed copyright, whatever. I’m like, no way I did. I would know if I did.
CRKX: Yeah. And I couldn’t be that stoned man.
Crystal: Exactly. You know? So I’m like, well, what the hell? And I can’t figure out how to appeal it. So I guess I won’t be posting my own stuff, but that’s fine.
I just interviewed this kid last week and he has one point something million followers on Tik TOK.
CRKX: God damn. That’s crazy. I think I got like 13. I have like 13,
Crystal: I didn’t even know that until today. When I went to tag him in the, um, in the video I went to his profile. I was like, what? I mean, he’s super good. And I can see why his stuff would be popular on Tik TOK because it’s like really it’s a little bit poppy. And it’s like, I mean, it’s like amazing. It’s really good and he’s barsy too. So.
CRKX: Yeah. Yeah. And he obviously knows how to market himself and that’s important. That’s amazing.
CRKX: Kind of funny that you say that because I posted that one thing and I’ve never posted anything before it’s got like 600 plays and I don’t even know where the fuck they came from. Cause I never posted it anywhere else. It just kind of, I don’t know.
Crystal: I don’t really know how it works yet. I know that I posted like six videos and they all have like 500 views on them already since last night. And I’m like, what the hell? So I don’t know. I mean, to be honest though, like I just interviewed Ced Gee, Rahzel and Kool Keith. So like, I think that the reason is because I threw up those promo videos and people were like, whoa. So they started checking out my other ones, but I just don’t know how people see your videos. It must be through hashtags kind of like Instagram.
CRKX: Yeah. There’s gotta be some kind of algorithm on there.
Crystal: I mean, when I go to the homepage, it shows me videos. So it’s gotta be, you know, like that, like that just showing up on people’s thing or whatever. So, but yeah, it’s pretty good.
CRKX: I have to really tinker with it myself. Cause I, all I know is how to post a video right now.
Crystal: I’m still figuring that all out myself. What about Instagram live? Do you ever go on Instagram live?
CRKX: I’ve tried it a couple of times, but I’m still working on the promo for my actual profiles and stuff. Cause all I’ve really pushed is my Facebook profile, but I know that a lot of artists and a lot of people tend to use Instagram. So I’m trying to press that a little more. I’ve tried to go, I’ve tried to go live a couple of times, but I’ve only had like maybe six people tapping stay live for 45 minutes and then it gets dead and I’m like, ah, all
Crystal: Right. Yeah. I think that the trick to live is to post a couple of promo videos for your live, like starting like a couple of days before and then like the next, the day before and then the morning before, you know, or the morning of or whatever. And then, make sure you have a game plan. Like you’re going to freestyle that day or you’re going to write a song that day or whatever. So people know what to expect and then use hashtags so that people see these promo videos, you know, and that will get you more engagement.
CRKX: Word, I hear that for sure. So like when you, uh, when you post those things, do you tag people in that or do you just use hashtags?
Crystal Just use hashtags, but frankly my engagement on Instagram has tanked and I don’t know what the hell is going on. Cause I actually checked yesterday to see if I’m shadow banned because between my two accounts, the Nevernaire and the crystallized beats accounts, I have like 8,000 followers, but I saw that I’ll post a promo video that I worked on for like an hour and it will get like 20 views. I’m like, what the fuck? Where is everyone? You know?
So I don’t think that most people are seeing my stuff. And when I do go through my feed, I feel like I only see the same few people’s stuff. I don’t see a lot of my artists that I follow.
So the algorithm is just really weird. And I mean, in theory, I would think that using those hashtags and like giving people a heads up for a few days and then the morning of that should work. But I mean, you have to be seen.
CRKX: So being consistent. Yep.
Crystal: So, all right, man. Is there anything else that you can think of that you want to add that we didn’t already talk about? Like what’s your Instagram first of all?
CRKX: My Instagram is crkxofficial. CRKX official.
Crystal: All right, cool. That’s good. And any shout outs or anything,
CRKX: Shout out to a DJ lady X, she’s going to be hosting the show with me in Hillsborough. She’s fucking awesome, she’s an amazing DJ and she’s coming through and really cut me a good deal to put a good show on for this.
And also shout out to the producer of all these goddamn beats.
Crystal: All right
Oh shit! Also Skilly waves. He’s been helping me with everything since, uh, since I’ve had to do all this by myself. All right/
Crystal: Right on. Well, it was a pleasure to have you on the show. So thank you so much for being here.
CRKX: You’re welcome. I appreciate it.
Crystal: All right, man. Take it easy.
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