June 24, 2021

Read the full interview on Flaunt.com!

“It’s a Krizz Kaliko thing!” If this is the first time you’re hearing of Krizz Kaliko, prepare to be enamored. During a time where the music industry seems to be oversaturated as ever, with new artists emerging on the scene daily talking about nonsense, the Kansas City, Missouri native stands tall and mighty, creating meaningful records with substance while speaking volumes to our current times.

If you’re not uplifted, motivated, or inspired after hearing any one of Kaliko’s songs, try again. Previously mobbing with Tech N9ne and his Strange Music label for over two decades, the singer, songwriter, and rapper steps into his newfound independence, even launching his own imprint titled Ear House.

Most recently, Krizz unleashed his critically-acclaimed single titled “Weight,” matched with probably his most raw, vulnerable and visual to date. Stripping down completely naked, Krizz reminds folks of the perils of battles with weight and body image, letting audiences know that life is too short to be stuck worrying about one’s physical appearance.

Flaunt spoke with Krizz via Instagram Live, who had just returned to Kansas City after a trip to Atlanta the night prior. Read below as we discuss the meaning behind “Weight,” how the music video came about, close friendship with Tech N9ne, being underrated, Eminem shouting him out, and more!

I watched the music video to “Weight” last night, what inspired you to make a record like this?

Most people, 95% of the people that have listened to the song know what I’m talking about: eliminating weight from your life. It doesn’t necessarily mean weight off your body. People initiated this #RiskBeingSeen challenge, where they expose pieces of them or pieces of their body they normally wouldn’t expose. That’s what the song’s about, lifting this weight up off of you. I was talking about weight off of me, because I’ve been battling weight literally my entire life. I’m not an overeater. I have my little binges like everybody else, but I’m not really an overeater like that, so I’ve been fighting my whole life. I’ve been praying.

As a kid, I prayed to not look like this. To not have this vitiligo on my face because the judgement of the world will drive you crazy if you care about such things, and most people do. I’ve always wanted to eliminate that weight from me. I’ve gone through mental health issues. I’ve always wanted to alleviate myself from mental health, from vitiligo, and from weight. I said it a couple of times in the song: “Praying to God He’ll free my body from weight.” I need to be liberated and a lot of other people do too. The song’s about lifting that weight up off you.

I have people that are obese, anorexic, people that are gay that have gone on there—it’s a little bit better atmosphere for people that are gay right now. It’s a whole movement, but some people still feel that weight on them. People who have arms or legs have to have amputated. They were doing the #RiskBeingSeen challenge by taking their prosthetic off and exposing that part of their body. Women that are cancer patients taking their wig off, exposing their bald heads they normally didn’t want to show to the world. People exposing themselves like I did in my video with the #RiskBeingSeen challenge, it’s really been helping thousands and thousands of people.

What was your creative vision with the music video?

I knew I wanted to do the song “Weight,” I said “damn, what can I do for this concept?” A director buddy of mine in LA, his name’s Ken Schoech, he’s a filmmaker. He directs a lot of reality shows, people know him the most for Real Housewives of Orange County, the Amazing Race, the Biggest Loser. He executive produced all those shows. I shot him the song, he said “ooh, you should shoot that butt naked bro.” Hell no. “Bro I’m telling you, if you shoot the video naked—how you think about approaching your fans, imagine how your fans would feel. It’ll help so many people.“ I said “nah, I gotta help them in a different way. I can’t do that.” He said, “I’m telling you.”

I got a song coming up with Futuristic called “Feeling Good” next on July 16th, so I went to shoot that video down there. We shot a whole day, 16 hours. Shot it underwater in this freezing pool, it wasn’t even summer down there yet in Arizona. I’m in this pool and after we get done, after I get over my slight hypothermia, I told that director guy whose name is Anickan. I said “hey man, my director dude in LA has this idea I should shoot this video naked. I’m trying to figure out how to get out of it. He said “I’ll tell you how to get out of it, shoot that thing right now. Let’s go shoot it right now.” Nah man, I can’t possibly do that. He said “I’m telling you, let’s shoot it right now before you talk yourself out of it.” So I shot it right then.

I love that you were so down!

Hey man, it was scary. I was terrified. I was terrified. I haven’t taken my shirt off since I was 13 years old. We literally went into this black room with a light on top. It’s literally a light above me, a camera, we sprayed me down with water and baby oil. They said “yeah man, watch how the drips are going to look, it’ll be so dope.” We shot it. He showed me the first cut, I said “oh wow, this looks incredible.” I did it and I felt free. I’ve dropped 20 pounds since then. I went swimming. Matter of fact, I’m about to go swimming after this interview. I went swimming last week with my shirt off for the first time ever in my life, it felt amazing.

I feel like that inspired people all around the world to love themselves too.

Why not? There’s 2% of people that say “aw man, you’re promoting obesity. You’re promoting anorexia.” I’m not, I’m promoting like yo’self. You don’t like yourself? You should. I’ve been dealing with all of the jokes. This one YouTube influencer dude said “man, he looks like an oiled up, naked Milk Dud.” That’s what he called me. [laughs] I’ll take it. I’m good with the oiled up naked Milk Dud look man. If that makes you feel better about yourself, to whatever people would call you when you strip down whatever it is you gotta strip down, I’ll take that. I’ll be that.

That’s actually your voice at the end of every Strange album: “STRANGE! Music.” How are you and Tech N9ne?

Aw man, that’s my best friend in the world. I love that guy. We’re brothers forever, ever, and ever. I’m surprised he hasn’t called me today. He usually calls me everyday asking me random things. People want to know, “is it beef between you and Tech?” Let me explain. Here’s an example of our relationship. 2 Sundays ago, he called me like “what are you doing?” I said “I’m in the middle of doing a bunch of media.” He said “I’m at Costco, I bought these huge TVs and I can’t fit ‘em in my car.” I drive big pickup trucks. He said “can you come get me?” I said “I’ll be right there.” I cancelled my interview to go get him from Costco, to get his TVs home.

How far apart do you guys live?

Now, we live a lot closer. He lives about 15 minutes away. Went to Costco, got his TVs. He bought these big huge 86 inch TVs. I bought one from there anyway, so I picked him up and took him home. That explains our relationship in a nutshell.

Y’all have music coming on your new album?

Do me and Tech have music coming? No, we don’t. Not yet. Here’s the deal, I don’t close the door on anything. That’s my brother for one. Even if it wasn’t him, one thing I don’t do is burn bridges. You don’t ever have to burn bridges. I’ve been with my wife forever, I could still go back to every girlfriend I mess with.That’s in any relationship, including Strange Music, any girlfriends. It is for a reason, I don’t burn bridges because you never know when you guys might need each other again.

Are you spiritual at all?

Oh yeah, super. I grew up in a Christian household. To be honest, I adopt religious philosophies from everywhere. I like a little Buddhism. I grew up Christian, but I like some ideas that Islam talks about. I like some of the customs. I like some of the philosophies we all have. What I learned is I don’t know who’s right, we’re all right and wrong. When you’re a heady person like I am, it gets confusing because we’re all taught this stuff by other men. Men passed that down so I never knew what exactly to believe, I really don’t even talk about it most of the time because no one’s going to be able to pin me down. No one knows necessarily what religion I am, or if I am or not, but I do know I have a big presence.

It’s all energy at the end of the day. If you put out bad energy, bad shit’s coming to you. I’ve gone through all kinds of craziness, we all will. But for the most part, good energy comes to me. When I started Ear House, I could pick up the phone and call everybody who I come in contact with. I’ve been networking the whole 20 years I’ve been doing this. I can call Busta Rhymes. I can call E-40 up. I can call up execs from other labels. I can call up producers from all over the world, because I’ve been putting out good energy the whole time I’ve been traveling this world.

What are your thoughts on people saying you’re underrated?

Oh I know it. I’ve been feeling it, that’s plagued me my whole career. It messes with your brain to not be at the level that you want to be at. I got a song with Eminem and Tech called “Speedom.” I’ma be honest, I’ve never heard Eminem give it up to any rapper ever. Have you?

Not sure, but my dog Slim is named after Eminem.

So then you’re an Eminem fan. I’ve never heard Eminem give it up to any other rappers. When Emiem got on his network Shade 45, he said “I’m not super familiar with Krizz Kaliko, is that the dude that’s been with you forever?” Tech said “yeah, that’s the big dude who’s been on stage with me.” He said “he murdered me and you. Krizz annihilated us on the song.” He started rapping my verse during his interview. What?! And I said something about him. “I said the purpose to pimp a pen and reverse the conditions I’m livin’ in, and do bigger numbers than Eminem.”

I said that on the song, he rapped his part. When people give it up to you like that, a lot of people agree and one of the rap gods agrees. Then he referenced it on other songs, he said it on the Beyonce song. He kept talking about the “Speedom” verse. I know he’s hella competitive. I’ve gotten a lot of confirmation I’m one of those guys. I haven’t gotten to that level yet. I feel like a legendary artist like T-Pain, Michael Jackson, Prince. Beyonce. I have the ability to do those types of songs that people can play forever. Being as though I haven’t reached that status — it isn’t about status or money, it’s about that worldwide respect. I don’t think I’ve gotten it to the level I want to.

What’s it going to take to get there?

Well, it takes a lot of money to make that happen. Being on an independent label, they have to be willing to spend that money to get you there. If your label is, it’s cool. If not, you’ll have to do it yourself and that’s what I chose. It’s a popularity contest in the music industry. The Grammys is not who’s the best music, it’s who’s the most popular. It’s your job, the label’s job to make you the most popular. Krizz is legendary, we love Krizz, but he’s not popular enough. That’s what they mean. I’ve always wanted to be more popular, not to be more popular but to get my message across. To get that enjoyment from those fans you see on here today, everybody in the world should be able to have that experience from Krizz Kaliko.

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