Plus the rhymes that I spit the kind make you rewind this shit. It’s become somewhat of a cliché these days, a barrel of drab crabs that occasionally will spit out a goofball like Chet Haze. But Asher Roth and the legend of the “great white hope” keep college campuses buzzing with wannabes and hopefuls. BroBible’s comprehensive “College Rapper Database” places D.C. native Kam Royal at number 22, but the Tulane University junior has his mind on the mainstream; as a management/marketing/Jewish studies major, he’s learning how to make you take him seriously.
He’s a favorite of popular college music blog ThisSongIsSick.com, his YouTube channel is popping, he’s opening for your favorite rappers, and the labels are starting to notice. After the jump, we pick his brain on what it’s like to be one of those guys. I don’t know if we wanna get into this right off the bat, but did you move to Adams Morgan just to be able to say that you’re from D.C.? No, I moved to Adams Morgan because I actually was born and grew up in D.C., and my parents moved into Maryland because D.C.’s got terrible public schools. So once my younger brother graduated from high school, we moved back into the District. And if now’s the appropriate time to talk about it, I’d like to say that I’ve lived in Maryland for 10 years of my life, and I’ve lived in D.C. I was born in D.C.; I currently live in D.C.; I have a D.C. driver’s license; so I’m pretty comfortable saying that I’m from D.C.
If people have a problem with that, it’s really just their problem. I think one of the big problems that faces D.C.’s hip-hop scene is that everyone’s always trying to really get on to the detriment of others. If you look at a city like Pittsburgh, which has had so much success recently with their music, it’s because everyone’s really one big family and everyone’s supporting each other. Everyone needs to support everyone if we wanna be successful. And does it matter — any of the shit that you just said about the license — does any of that even matter? If you are from the DMV area, if you have love for D.C. — ‘cause this is our nation’s capital, it’s really a phenomenal, beautiful city — you wanna rep that, I’m cool with that. The only problem I would have is if someone just moved here from California a day ago or something like that, and they’re like “Yeah man, D.C. I’m sure it’s something that developed over time, long before either one of us was born. I really don’t have any big idea or epiphany about why D.C. does have somewhat of a music culture, if you look at — Marvin Gaye’s from D.C.; we have our own music in go-go. It doesn’t really make sense that people are really just trying to get on and not support the whole movement and just support individuals. Maybe that comes from the culture of the city, it being a government city — only one person can win. But I didn’t ever really start taking music very seriously until, I’d say, about 11 months ago. When I got to school, I started writing some more raps at the encouragement of one of my friends. And then last July or August, I forget which, I’d written some new songs, and I decided to go to a nice studio and get ‘em done and recorded. And so it was last summer that I first sent it out to a blog, and my first song got picked up by like 20 or 30 blogs, and it really grew organically from there. The more I did it, the more I really developed a passion for it and a love for it. I’ve always been into rapping, but I’ve only been saying “Oh, yo, I’m a rapper. I’m trying to be a rapper,” for about a year now, a little bit less than a year. Would you say that it’s transformed from a hobby into something that you really want to pursue, as a career even? It’s something that very quickly grew from — as you said — a hobby into something that I definitely want to do full time once I graduate from college. What did your parents say when you told them this 11 months ago? The plan wasn’t actually fleshed out 11 months ago. Now, my parents encourage that I stay in college and get that diploma. I don’t waste making decisions about what I wanna do with my future.
I’ve still got two years of college left, so until I graduate, I’m not really worried about what am I going to do. Obviously, you’ve got another strike against you in the sense that you are white. Now you have this archetype of college rappers like yourself, like Mac Miller, Asher Roth, the list goes on and on.
What do you think of those rappers, and where do you see yourself fitting in with that sort of archetype?