KVKA (pronounced Ku-ka, as in his real name — Mukuka) is a well-travelled young artist, to say the least. He was born in Zambia, raised in the UK, and started making music in New Zealand in 2014, dropping his first track ‘Who You’ at age 16. The clip featured a bally-clad KV and his teenage buddies rocking ahead-of-the-time fashion (reminiscent of an early A$AP Mob) and a tough as hell hook, delivered with just the right amount of huskiness and attitude. The song popped off in New Zealand and globally, and currently sits at over 4 Million streams across all platforms.
The success of ‘Who You’ saw KVKA become a prominent artist in the NZ scene, opening for acts such as GZA (Wu-Tang Clan), Rejjie Snow and Keith Ape. A few projects and mixtapes later and KVKA took a brief hiatus to relocate to his new home-base of Melbourne. After appearing alongside Australian spitters Nerve and Wombat on 16 Bars AU & NZ, KVKA has delivered his first single since the move—’No Lackin’.
‘No Lackin’ is a quick-hitter, packed with hard 808s that sees KVKA and his NZ day-one Leniac trade flows to mean-mug to. KVKA sums it up best on the track, comparing the punch of Deer and Hancoq’s production to the bully from Friday: “808s like Deebo come and knock you out your socks.” Eager to hear more from the literal new local, we caught up with KVKA to chat ‘No Lackin’, the Melbourne music scene and what he’s got on the horizon.
Tell us a bit about growing up, I know you moved around a lot before settling in Melbourne.
I grew up between Africa, the UK and New Zealand. I saw a lot and learnt a lot, but it brought me a wide range of influence from all different types of music.
Can you tell us about how you got into making music?
I always had an urge to be the person I was listening to. I didn’t really listen to hip-hop until I was about 13 but I always wanted to entertain and make music.
Growing up, what type of music did you listen to?
I listened to a lot of pop, rock and then R&B, soul, blues. Hardcore and then hip-hop.
Do you remember the first album you bought?
J. Cole — Forest Hills Drive. I was broke growing up and my parents aren’t into ‘secular’ music so I had to listen to a lot of my music low-key.
You have an old track called ‘Who You’ which has done some crazy numbers. Can you run us through the story there — how old were you when you made that track?
I was in this little town in Rotorua in New Zealand with producer Tony Douglas, who was kind of my first mentor in music. It was 4am and I had maybe an hour before my brother picked me up so we just made it in next to no time, we put it out and the rest is history.
You just put out a new track called ‘No Lackin’. Could you talk us through how that song came together?
Kind of a similar story to ‘Who You’ but this time me, my childhood homies Dfrent, Lenaic and my new compadre Hancoq were in the studio and had just finished a bunch of other tracks and right at the end of the session we decided to blow off some steam! No Lackin’ was what we ended up with.
Can you tell us a bit about Leniac, who featured on that song?
That’s my day one, man! He’s been with me before I was rapping and all that, my man has always comes with the crazy bars. Written or off the top, they always CRAZY!
Is there more music to follow? What can we expect to hear from you this year?
‘No Lackin’ is just a teaser to get people prepped. It’s the warm-up before the match, that’s all I’ll say.
Who would you one day love to collaborate with?
Sean Leon. Hands down.
What’s taking up too much of your time at the moment and what would you like to be doing more off?
The pursuit of stability, finances. If I had that all sorted all I’d do is make art, clothes, painting, poetry, and music — but not just hip-hip.
How do you like the creative scene in Melbourne, who are some other local artists you’re into?
I’m loving it, it’s so eclectic yet unified. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and a privilege to be a part of. I mess with Kaiit, Hancoq, Baro, Nasty Mars, Savage The Girl, Manny Müla and so many more.
What’s something that you miss about New Zealand?
My family and friends.
Lastly, what’s are you hoping to achieve in 2020?
To reach more people, see more places, make more music, and have less worries.
For more from KVKA follow him here, and check his new single ‘No Lackin’ below.