Future Classics

Future Classic: KNLO “Long Jeu”

Hip-Hop Beats

Knlo (aka Kenlo, aka Kenlo Craqnuques) remains one of Montreal’s best kept secrets. Ask anyone in the beats / hip-hop scene and they will all swear that he is one of the most talented, influential and unique artists we have.  And as for the worldwide perspective, he deserves to be mentioned as one of the best in world in the Producer + MC category.

After countless years of getting KNLO’s records on CD-R’s, Myspace, Blogspot, Rapidshare links it will feel fantastic to finally hold his official debut album in my hands. The 7ieme ciel label deserve a lot of props for having the vision of putting this out.

I’ve had “Long Jeu” for a while now so I can guarantee that you are in for a treat!

Here is a little discussion I had with him along with a few album teasers including a fantastic mini-documentary exploring a day in the life of KNLO.


Lexis: Hey my man thanks for the time! So, first things first “Long Jeu” drops this week. Do you consider this your first solo vocal album, because you did also release the great “Flattebouche” project a while back.

@KenloCranuques: Yup i still go with the first solo rap LP thing thing because my pre-2007 (!) releases were truly made in a mixtape spirit (the tunes str8 out of Acid, str8 to CD, str8 to 5$ ukno). Musically I catch up on where I left it off tho. I will still be performing 2 or 3 tunes from that era in my new show.

Lexis: That’s good. That CD-R is still on heavy rotation in my house. So more than 10 years later, you’re now a veteran in the game. Over 10 instrumental releases, member of 3 collectives. How does it feel to finally release this first official solo album?

@KenloCranuques: It really felt good to spend less time in front of a computer for a couple of months, working on lyrics instead of production. It did wait for me at the end of the project, since I had taken the decision to mix the album myself. So yeah I literally feel like the album : released! And ready for some more music

Lexis: A lot of people know you for the “Craqnuques” instrumental beat projects you’ve put out in the myspace, blogspot, rapidshare days. Does the “beat” scene still interest and inspire you?

@KenloCranuques: Hahaha… yep unfortunately the beat crave is not gone. It’s just on hold for a while. The first thing I did when I received my album (mastered) was to start new beats. But beatmaking without any intention of a song did appear incomplete to me at a certain time. By the way : I am looking for beats for my upcoming project! Holla!

Lexis: Did you produce most of the “Long Jeu” album?

@KenloCranuques: Yes. Other co-producers include my brother VLooper, Kaytranada, Jew3lz & my wife Caro Dupont.

Lexis: One thing that always impresses me with the Alaclair crew is that even though all of you guys are veterans, you dont just stick to golden era influences. Your album follows that idea, there are some jazzy soulful joints but also some auto-tune and (almost) trap joints. Whats your philosophy surrounding stuff like Auto-tune and trap?

@KenloCranuques: As a music lover, I do have big respect for artists who craft a specific style. But I think I am metabolically driven towards various flavours. I do relate to trap, as well as gospel and ringtones. My philosophy did not appear upon reflection, it landed on me while I spent 2 or 3 good years of savage sampling 8 hours a day : I can appreciate any music. Lyrics-wise I relate with conscious and subconscious contents. And yes I think it’s a mind state that we do share within the crew.

Lexis: You grew up in Quebec City but have been based in Montreal with your family for a while now… is “Ville-Marie” your ode to your adoptive city?

@KenloCranuques: Yes Montreal has become one of the places where I’m from.
In that song I am speaking through the eyes of a young father trying to hustle is way out of broken social environment through outsmarting the construction business.

Lexis: Tell me a little about the music you’re listening to these days? What are you playing at home?

@KenloCranuques: Still raps plus lot of funk, cumbia & samba, etc. I am also blessed to have many friends who do music and that fills a good part of my ”listening” time.

Lexis: Big question, where do you stand on the whole Kevin Durant to the Warriors debate? And who’s winning the NBA this year?

@KenloCranuques: Haha. KD’s decision was a basketball over money decision so I respect it. Seems like we’re going to have a rematch in the Finals but I can’t pick a winner yet. The rookie I follow is Key Felder and the veteran I am glad to see back is Brandon Jennings. And I think the Knicks will be back to the playoffs finally.

Lexis: I’ve been looking for the answer to this myself (being a longtime football player)… what’s the link between being an athlete and an artist? Is there one?

@KenloCranuques: I have always figured that I am the same of artist than athlete. I achieve things through repetition, going back at it and grindin’ .Nothing comes easy except the will. I always loved to pass the ball and play defense. And yes competition does exist.
I remain that team sports guy within the musical world.
I feel like the artistic side of sport is not enough mentioned tho!
Ball handling stays with me
i am humbly working on moves constantly haha

Lexis: Do you have a routine that puts you in the best creative setting… is it morning or night, sober or not, etc etc

@KenloCranuques: I have the feeling that music has the power to live within all vibes. Fatally true how some of the most satisfying work sessions occur during challenging life moments. Lyrically most hooks spark in the morning like with the first glass of water, but when it’s time to lace verses, the weeknights are there for that.. after the babies go to bed ukno!

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Montreal-based DJ and the founder MusicIsMySanctuary.com (2007) and 24 Hours of Vinyl (2011).