We connected with King Zell, a 20-year rapper from Baltimore, who is part of the music group Rated R, about his musical influences, how he selects beats, how he and Rated R connected and more.
Tell me about Rated R? How did you guys connect and do you have an EP or mixtape on the way? K: Rated R is a music group that consists of 5 members (4 Guys and 1 Girl).The 4 of us guys went to high school together & we became friends from there. I knew one of them (Ruso) since we were younger though. They were making music before me, this is in 2012. I told them I would be the hype man & that's really what it was at first. Being around them & listening to a lot of music growing up made me want to start making music so I made my first song in the summer of 2014. In 2015 we got a girl in the group with a very unique sound to her. We've been clicking since then. We are currently working on a Rated R mixtape as well as solo projects.
Being a part of Rated R as well as a solo artist, how do you decide what beats to keep for yourself to write to as opposed to using them for your group? K: I pick the beats that I feel would be the best fit for all of our styles. We all have a different style to our music but for the most part we find a way to finesse the beat for all of us. If they don't want to use a beat that I pick, I'll use it for myself & find one that sounds better all of us.
Chicago is known for "Drill" and Atlanta is known for "Trap"; would you say that Baltimore rap has a distinct sound? K: I don't really think Baltimore rap has a distinct sound yet. It's kinda like a mixture of Trap, Drill, Gangsta Rap & Soulful Rap. We do have a type of music that we dance to called "Baltimore Club Music".
Who are some of your influences lyrically as an artist? K: Growing up I listened to a little bit of every rapper but my influences are Lil Herb, Meek Mill, 50 Cent, Chief Keef, Lil Durk, Drake, Lil Bibby, Kanye West & More.
When a new listener hears one of your tracks for the first time, what do you want them to take away from it? K: It's nothing I would want them to take away; I want them to hear & feel everything that I'm saying in any song.