Many artists dream of earning mainstream success, and for Jamaican dancehall sensation Kranium, inking a deal with Atlantic Records is delicious icing on a very hard-earned cake.
Getting the attention of — and then getting signed by — a big time record label is the key to success in his brand of music.
“We need that machine, that resource to get the music out on a wider scale,” Kranium said. “So it means a lot to me because at the end of the day we’re doing music and we love it.”
The Queens transplant is no stranger to the music business. Mentored by his famous uncle, Screwdriver, Kranium worked tirelessly to bring his music to major leagues. But it took one song’s success to capture the right amount of attention.
His hit single, “Nobody Has To Know,” sold 29,000 copies in 2014, peaked at no. 32 on the Reggae Digital Songs chart, reached the Next Big Sound and Twitter Emerging Artists charts while his video has generated upwards of 10 million YouTube views, according to Billboard magazine.
Compared to dancehall past, Kranium sees new trends exploding in the genre that he finds to be refreshing. Acknowledging that every artist is on a high level right now, he attributes this mostly to that each artist is challenging the genre with their own artistic creativity.
“Everybody used to be on the same thing or actually the same topic for years but I think over the years artists have become more artistic and more challenging,” he said. “Everybody is realizing that this music is bigger than us and it can go further. Everybody is on the top of their game right now. You can listen to a certain dancehall song and be from a different background but you can understand what they’re saying in some of the words. I think clarity has been a major change.”
Since the release of “Nobody Has To Know,” the following remixes have featured prominent hip hop artists including the most recent to be Ty Dolla $ign. The genre mash-up between hip-hop and reggae has become a growing trend, one Kranium believes should be celebrated as it enables a new audience to be exposed to someone else’s musical tastes.
“I think it’s a great thing because if you’re in America na you listen to rap music every day of your life, it’s good for a little change. Same thing about Jamaica how it is dominated by reggae music, once you hear a different genre of music it’s refreshing to you.Once it’s done correctly and it gets to the right ears the people are going to love it because they’re not used to that sound,” he said.
Kranium is gearing to take the world by storm. This summer, the dancehall artist will play shows in Ghana – his first time performing there – as well as various stops in the United Kingdom before releasing his mixtape in September.