Interview with Khari Gold of The Academy

Interview with Khari Gold of The Academy

”I'm a fun-loving person, so I try to make that come out in my music.”

Interview with Khari Gold of The Academy

”I'm a fun-loving person, so I try to make that come out in my music.”
What’s your name?

“KP Kartel, a.k.a. KP of The Academy.”

I know you and Serge are both a part of The Academy. First off, what is The Academy and who is/are the founder(s)?

The Academy is a collective of creatives and forward-thinkers that believe in striving to reach our potential. Our motto is ‘let's all be millionaires,’ ‘cause we believe there's enough money and opportunity out here for us all to reach our goals, whether it's financial or not. I found The Academy a while back and Serge has been there from the jump, so he's really a founder too, along with a couple other homies who saw the vision and decided to run with me.”

What is the goal of the The Academy?

“To push everyone to be the best they can be. ‘Millionaires’ doesn't just apply to money. Wealth is in the mind, not the pocket. If you're working to get better everyday and perfect whatever it is you want to perfect, it only makes sense that you'll make bread doing it. There's plenty of opportunity out here for you to do your thing, there's no reason we all can't make our dreams happen.”

Is there one person overseeing things or is it a joint-effort in terms of decision making in regards to The Academy?

“Always a joint effort. We always consult each other even when it comes to music, we get as many opinions as we can.”

How did you and Serge meet?

“Serge was my roommate for 4 years in school and we been real tight ever since.”

How did you both get into making music?

“I've always loved music since I was a kid. I used to sing at church and all that. I started rapping in middle school, high school, and recorded my first song in ninth grade. Just for fun though, but it was hard. People liked it. Then I chilled for a bit, but when I found out that there was a studio at the MLC [Miller Learning Center at The University of Georgia], I kinda hopped back into it. We had been freestyling all… through freshman year. Just me, Serge and the homies. So, it was only right we recorded something eventually.”

How do you describe your sound? And how are your working to develop your sound more as time goes forward?

“I would say my sound is carefree, but I still care about some shit. Mainly family, friends and girls are the only things I'll really talk about seriously in my music. Everything else is really just me having fun. I'm a fun-loving person, so I try to make that come out in my music. I think my sound took a step forward with this album, though. Not necessarily a sound, because I love to try new shit all the time, but it's more of a consistent energy I'm giving off through the music, and I owe that to my producer Leezy. His beats have kinda pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me approach shit differently.”

How did you meet Leezy?

“I've known Leezy forever. We grew up together. Went to middle school together and all that, but we really got close my senior year of high school. During spring break we were just hanging at my friend's apartment smoking and chilling. This was before I really started rapping seriously though, so he would just play his guitar and I would freestyle to whatever he played and we would just mess around like that. That's been my dawg for a minute, though.”

Do you have any specific inspirations that you look to for guidance?

“Curren$y always has been inspiration number one. Not so much in how I rap, but like I said, the energy. Him and Wiz shaped a pivotal part of my life in high school and really made me into the laid-back person I am. So, regardless of what I'm listening to or how my sound may change, they're really the big influences of my content and the energy behind my music. Marley, Hendrix, Cobain, Elvis [are] all legends that I like to take things from, as far as how I kinda carry myself. You can feel the starpower through their music and whenever you saw them, and I want to be that charismatic in my own right. Any of them old rock stars influence me as far as how I dress and carry myself.”

What’s changed about how you carry yourself specifically as time has gone on?

“I don't know if my personality has really changed, but I think I know myself a little better. I feel like when I was younger, I wasn't really sure who or what I wanted to be, because I had a lot of different influences from all types of backgrounds around me at all times. It can get confusing when you're a multifaceted person. You might not know what persona may suit you best, but when you find a way to combine all your influences and experiences together and paint your own picture, that's when you find out who you are and what makes you different.”

Are there any places (cities, towns, specific landmarks, trips, etc.) that have influenced your music?

”Los Angeles, California, even though I've never been. I've always just been in awe of Hollywood and Beverly Hills and that famous lifestyle. Other than that, I'd say Atlanta sound-wise, Miami and New York experience-wise. I don't know -- I take inspiration from anywhere I go and anything I do.”

What about the Miami and New York “experience” inspires you?

“I just think it's cool to see those big cities, and aspire to be one of the people that pushes the culture forward in cities that really dictate what's going on everywhere else. New York, Atlanta and Miami are some of the most diverse cities in the world. When you're there, you feel kinda powerful, like the whole world is at your fingertips, and that feeling is something that you want more of. So, you aspire to get to that level where you can feel that type of powerful feeling from wherever you're at.”

Who are your role models and people that inspire your music?

”Women inspire my music the most. Just the different experiences I have with women I deal with, or don't deal with. They're my muses. If I have writer’s block, put me around some girls and something will come to me.”

What are you currently listening to?

”Jimmy Wopo has been my guy for about a year now (RIP), Sheck Wes, SOB x RBE, Carti and Uzi always, Clairo is a queen. Reggae always. Leon Bridges and a lot of old soul music. That really helps me when I'm in album mode. I try not to listen to much rap when I'm in album mode, so all my ideas are coming from my own head, and not just something I've heard recently.”

Migos or The Beatles?

“Migos, man.”