Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
“Everyone, come up real close, we’re moshing today!” exclaimed the ecstatic young man on stage. As the speakers roared, locs flared into the air and a sea of people were slamming & rolling into themselves like a violent storm. That moment alone was enough to convince anyone a true rockstar was in the making, before their eyes at PLANET HOME.
24kGoldn is a young rapper & singer from San Francisco, CA with a unique sound embedded in viral hits such as “Valentino” and “A Lot to Lose”. His music stands out as a culmination of electric guitars, vocal layering & could only be described as the new age of hip hop mixed with classic rock. Songs like “A Lot to Lose” features a guitar solo similar to the iconic rock band, Queen, who’s known to emphasize such solos. Golden first found viral success with his song “Valentino” which now has over 9.6 million plays on Spotify and proudly holds the spot of #4 on Rolling Stone’s rising top 25. Within his first four months of attending the University of Southern California, Golden signed a record deal and plans to take a leave of absence from school to tour the United States. While brandishing collaborations with the likes of rapper Skizzy Mars and producer D.A. Doman, Golden shows immense potential with a very bright future in the rap game.
We met in his green room to talk more about his journey coming up, relationships with artists, and advice on work ethics.
DW: I actually remember first finding out about you through my friends, Matt & Joey
24K: Oh! Are you from Oakland?
DW: I am! So you’re from San Francisco, drove up from LA, the Palace is basically your backyard; what was it like performing in your own city?
24K: It felt really good, I mean this is the first big show I’ve done since I’ve been back in San Francisco. So just to be in my home city, you get that boost of energy. Seeing familiar faces in the crowd, people that are going to stick with you for your whole life, it always feels good and makes me want to perform better for them!
DW: Coming up in SF and the Bay, can you talk more about your journey? Especially with Paypa Boy, who is obviously your OG.
24K: It all started on my 13th birthday, 13 is my lucky number, and on my 13th birthday I went to Dreamteam SF, Paypa Boy’s store, for the first time and-
Paypa Boy: Timeout! Prove it, show me! Prove 13 is your lucky number, prove it to me!
24kGoldn rolls his left arm sleeve up to reveal a tattoo of a dragon surrounding a large number "13"
24K: "I was born in the year of the Golden Dragon.
DW: It all lines ups
24K: Yes, exactly. So I went there on my 13th birthday and from there we started building a relationship. I would come in and just hang out at the shop, help out at sneaker events, all that type of sh*t. He really just took me under his wing and pushed me as hard as he was pushing himself and I remember I was a sophomore in high school and he was like “Yo! You wanna make a song…?” and I was like “F**k yeah!”. So, we made the song, uploaded it on SoundCloud, and the next day I went to school and everyone was like “Yo your song is sick, your song is fire!”
DW: It was “Broke Boy”, right?
24k: Yea- WOAHHHHHHH | *Everyone in the green room laughs*
24k: WOAHHHH How do you know that?!?! Damnnnnn, yeah that’s crazy wow
DW: Do you still have it?
24k: It’s private on SoundCloud now
DW: You gotta slide it, I’m trying to slap it
24k: Haha just for you, I’ll send you the private link. But yeah, from there it just inspired me and motivated me to want to make more songs. The more songs I made, the better they got and you know me, I’m an entrepreneur at heart. So it was like “what can I do to best promote and market my product?” which is my music, myself, and my brand. I started looking up things online and getting a real understanding of the music industry and how to make it. From there, shit just took off. I went to USC, first four months in, I signed my record deal and now we’re on a leave of absence, about to go on tour next week.
DW: I can see where the business major and business mind comes in.
24k: Yes, exactly
DW: So, Valentino, #4 on Rolling Stones Rising top 25, that one’s one for the records. But, I want to talk more about “Games On Your Phone”, produced by D.A. ...
24k: ... and Omer Fedi too, he did the guitar on that
DW: It’s fire! So, D.A. has been with you since the jump, do you want to talk more about that?
24k: D.A. found me off of this DJ Booth article. There was a writer named Hershal Pandya and he wrote this article about the stigma of SoundCloud rap and how just because you put your music on a certain platform doesn’t mean you should be looked at in a certain way or delegitimize. At the end of his article, he said: “if any SoundCloud rappers want to send me your song, I will listen to at least 30 to 40 seconds of it”. I sent it in, I was the first person to do so and I forgot about it. I follow him on twitter so I saw two weeks later he posted something like “I listened to SoundCloud rappers, here is what I thought”. I had sent him my song “Balling like Shareef” and he just spoke incredibly highly of it and D.A. saw that and sent an email to the email I had in my Instagram bio. A couple of months later, I was going to LA anyways so I went to D.A and he started fucking with me and he got me signed with records. It was great; a great situation.
DW: That’s a crazy journey. Also, your relationship with Skizzy Mars, I just saw that video of "Bayside" just dropped. He’s from New York and you’re from the Bay but he still f*cks with Bay artists. How did that relationship come about?
24k: I’m signed to this publisher called APG. I’m signed for my publishing which means that all the songs that I write, mine or for other people, they get a percentage of that and they put it in movies, video games, and stuff like that. Skizzy is signed to them as an artist so they connected us and we hit it off on a personal level. He likes playing Super Smash Bros, I like playing Super Smash Bros, we played a couple of times, you know? And the rest was history.
DW: Fasho, so the last question, do you have any advice for up and coming artists? Especially coming up in the Bay and that Bay Area sound.
24k: I would say don’t limit yourself to the Bay Area sound. People have heard the Bay Area sound for the past 20 years, you know? It can do well in the Bay Area but if you really want to make it in this industry, the market is so saturated right now that you need to be doing something completely different than what everyone else is doing. For me, Valentino, a lot of people don’t know this but it was written 20 months ago and only now it’s starting to get the buzz. You gotta make music for the future, you gotta be experimental, and you just gotta be different, passionate, and you gotta really want it. If you don’t really want it if you don’t act like you really want it if you don’t work like you really want it… then you're not going to get it.