The Kids Are Alright

The Art-Collective that wants to branch out while keeping their roots.

By Curtis Ashley, Music Director & Editor

Formally introducing: Jerom Randolph (Ignis), Jezih Sanchez (Contra$t), and Luis Ortiz (Muso). These are the founding members of The Kids. They each hail from The Bronx and are all about putting on for their borough. We met with the three on the ground floor of the Empire State Building in a Starbucks. There, they spilled the beans on how some kids from the BX became up-and-coming purveyors of art.

Ignis and Muso meeting in the second grade was the first in a long line of dominos to fall. The two became friends, and that friendship eventually pooled into artistic collaborations. “We started off making comic books,” Ignis explained. “I could write, cause I like stories, but I couldn’t draw. [Muso] could draw really well, so he would draw the heroes I write about. That’s when we had that artistic dynamic. When we got to high school, it transformed into me rapping, [Muso] making beats, and me rapping over his beats.”

The two didn’t attend high school together. Ignis would meet Contra$t at his high school. The two crossed paths at a party, but Contra$t had no idea Ignis rapped until later. “I found [Ignis]’ music through my friend’s Instagram. I clicked the link and was like, ‘This isn’t my friend. It’s this guy named Ignis,’” Contra$t said. After figuring out each other’s secret rapper identity, they decided to hit the studio together. It was at this moment, the three — Ignis, Muso, and Contra$t — met for the first time, and the idea of a collective sprung.

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Foundng memers of ‘The Kids’: Ignis (left), Contra$t (center), and Muso (right). Photo by Curtis Ashley / HangTime Music.

Since that session, the group doubled in membership and they found their name. There was no official name for the lot, though Ignis and Muso had been releasing under the name Kid Lethal since their forces combined. The latest to join were Finesse (photographer/editor), Disparity (singer/guitarist), and Jay Gatzby (rapper). With the introduction of more members also came the name, “The Kids.” “We started saying ‘the kid,’ or ‘that kid.’ We’re just kids making music,” Muso clarified. “We’re all just kids from The Bronx expressing themselves. We just care about making shit, and that’s why we have so many different artists. Photographers, editors, painters, all kinds of shit.”

That said, The Kids as a whole want everyone to know they are not your average New York rap-collective. They plan on attacking from all angles. “Recently we have been focusing a lot on music, simply because that’s what is coming out of us, but that’s definitely not the only thing we do. We’re planning to create outside of music,” Muso said.

The Kids have not produced much outside of music, other than a documentary that chronicled the creation of their self-titled compilation mixtape. The project, released in late August 2018 was recorded in a week. Through the documentary, you get to see their creative process, and the genuine comradery amongst each other. But through the actual music, you see what works, and how they made it work.

“It was the last week of the summer. As soon as we decided we were doing this, then boom, we were locked in. Whatever plans we were supposed to have that week, we shut [them] down,” Ignis commented.

Since then, the group has been working on solo projects from each of their members. The latest release from The Kids is by Jay Gatzby, who dropped Spooky Season at the top of November. It’s Gatzby’s debut project, but it has influence from all members throughout it. Muso is spotted on the production and on the cover art. Contra$t does the same, as well picking up a feature on the project. For them, no matter whose project it is, it’s always a group effort.

There’s not an ounce of selfishness in the collective either. The Bronx is the birthplace of hip-hop, so it only seems right they want to give those around them a shot to express themselves too. To do so, they hold open mics. Even then they keep their events local, hosting them at Bronx Native, a local clothing store on the southside of the BX. “We do want to give a platform for other artists. We want to make sure if they’re listening to us, we’re listening to them,” Muso proclaimed.

It’s that very attitude toward other artists that they want to be known for. The Kids cite the division in the New York hip-hop community as one of the reasons New York has fallen from the top. “We kind of want to reverse that. We really want to create a community of artists and put each other on,” Muso stated.

Regardless, The Kids aim to keep up the long-standing tradition of hip-hop in The Bronx. At the same time, they want to be different, and create a new standard for what people expect out of New York rappers, and artists in general. “We kind of have to carry that legacy, being from New York. Whenever people from out-of-state look at New York rappers, there’s a certain expectation. So we try to pass that expectation, but also move differently from what most people think rappers out of New York are doing,” Contra$t said. “Not everybody is doing their own artwork, videos, documentaries. We’re a little bit different, we’re trying to capture what The Bronx is like right now.”

We know what The Kids want to do, now it’s just time to wait and see them do it. If The Kids Mixtape was any indication, we have great content to look forward to out of The Bronx.

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