How Skating Changed Black Kray's Life

May 5th, 2021 // Interviewer: Shane Allen // Music

Black Kray, the founder of Goth Money Records was one of the founding fathers of the SoundCloud era of rap. When Goth Money Came out in 2013., they, along with a few other rap names, birthed a whole new generation of hip hop that was breaking all the normal tropes of what you thought rap was, avant guarde you could say.

What were some of your first memories making music,

`Like back in the day in the sixth grade being with my cousins, after school with them on the bus. We were always just freestyling and kicking it.

Everything would always be going down either on the bus or at the bus stop.

Which had better freestyles? The morning bus or after school bus.

After, yeah in the morning time you'd be too sleepy. like it's too early for that [Laughs} Aint nobody want to be on that, so shit be quiet until after school. You know everybody pumped up going home.

When did you get introduced to recording?

In the seventh grade, I just went to Walmart one day and copped a little microphone. I went back to the crib. I just plugged that setup and recorded it ma made my first song I dropped it on MySpace. And then the next day I shared the link with my homie and then, he went and got the mic too. He did the same thing. we've been recording together ever since.

What was the process of you actually learning how to do it? In the 7th grade that's not easy.

Its crazy. cause I'm just naturally good at and just know what to do with a computer. I didn't get a computer early on, but I was just like naturally good at it.

So, and I was already messing around making skateboard videos and using Photoshop. So it was just simple. I just knew I had to buy a microphone to plugin, I knew I had to download some audio program. I did all that and it was on, I figured it out.

One of my other cousins was always on the computer playing 24 seven. He was like getting all these free programs was super into like the forum community. So you'd have plugs and people that know about certain things. So my cousin was like, yo like I got this program, you should check it out. I hopped on one and then was like ohh this is firee.

Did it feel weird hearing your voice back for the first time?

Hell yeah. I never really liked it. Like for real, I ain't really get used to hearing my own voice for a long time. Probably all the way up until a couple of years ago.

How did Goth Money start?

Basically, I was out mobbing one day and I just came up with the name, Of course, I was influenced, by the OGs, Cash Money,

But I was on my goth shit, so I said this is Goth Money.

So I've just been with all the homies and I was like yo would you rock with it? Ever since then it's been Goth Money.

When Goth Money starting popping, that name was a perfect representation of what was about to happen in underground rap. Everything started sounding really dark but lit at the same time. Did you start Goth Money to fill a void and make music that hadn't been made before?

That's probably why I started to make music. I started because I wanted to hear a certain kind of sound.

I thought I was the only one who could make this music that I wanted to listen to.

Take what I've been fucking with for a while and bring it into a new light. Salem, Grimes, White Ring, Gummy Bear, Party Trash, Crystal Castles.

Everybody I rock within Goth Money, they all been doing their own thing, like before I even met anybody so that's what makes it so special. Everybody was and still is so raw individually.

We got some, unreleased shit in the cut that we're just waiting to drop when the time is right. Cause everything all about timing.

How has the process changed from when you guys were starting out to now?

Everything as a whole, the world in general. The energy in the world is different and that plays a major role in everything. The politics was different, there wasn't as many politics back in the day. Shit used to be more genuine It was a way smaller circle, kept it rawer. The production is more different than anything now too, everything has to be super commercialized now.

Yeah on Soundcloud you could always find so many new people that had no name but were making groundbreaking music. Not all of it has been done before kind of.

No facts, literally all the time. Back when you'd go to SoundCloud, and find some fire no one's ever heard before. Like every time, you'd find some raw shit. Now it's not really like that.

Now it's all playlists and shit that you're told to listen to.

How'd you get into skating?

My cousins, the same ones that I was with when I started like freestyling and stuff, They were skating, so I started to skate with them. I was the only one that like took it seriously. I actually, went out and bought my own skateboard.

I was out there every day trying to learn something new.

Do you think skating exposed you to some things you would have gotten into otherwise?

Yeah, definitely. Shout out my cousin Patrick yo. he was a decent skater, he still is. He was the only one who was into that. He had been taking it seriously. I kinda like learned from him I looked up to him on some skate shit. It was definitely just like being around them because I really rock with them so whatever they were doing was cool to me. So now they got a skateboard, I have to get one.

The older I got, I got to form my own game through this skate shit.

I would just be linking up with other kids that were doing the same thing as me back then. There weren't that many. Especially black kids. There weren't too many black kids that were skating where I'm from.

What pros were you looking up to?

Jamal Smith. Shane Cross, Ai Boulala, Dustin Dollin, All my boys out of the whole Baker team for real, They definitely, they definitely set a blueprint to this.

You obviously watched Baker 3?

Rightt, yeah that's the classic.

Who had your favorite part?

Shit Antwon Dixon f'sho, off top.

He was going so crazy. Yeah, I was watching Baker 2G Baker 3, the Pig Wood video. a whole bunch of local stuff from Florida, I was with the skate scene out there Florida, from Richman, from DC, like Out The Box.

How do you think skating has affected your life?

I feel like it led me to a different lifestyle. It opened me up to be able to meet different kinds of people and listen to different stuff. It expanded my horizon to be open and being freer.

What the last trick you learned?

Shit, front heels. that shits kind of tricky. But this is way easier than a frontside flip. I had them for a time period, but then after a while, I lost them I guess. That shit has always been weird to me.

Do you like heelflips better than kickflips?

Yeah. Yeah, heelflips are easier, kickflips were so hard for me to learn, bro, for like forever,

What's with that, I feel like most of my black skate friends always thought heelflips were easier too.

Yeah, f'sho. {Laughs] It's just like a known thing in the skate community that black skaters, we just be heelflipping more. It's definitely been like that for a minute.

How was it like moving to LA?

I came out here with like 700 dollars. I came with my homie Creek. the owner of Upmost and neither of us had a crib to stay at.

The goal for me was to just leave the area from where I grew up. Just to see different shit., I don't know the goal was to get it. That's all I know, shit.

Was that scary?

Hell Nah, that shit was fun. Cause I was already used to moving around. so it wasn't really anything too scary. It became my second home.

Why'd you changed your name from Kray to Rarri?

Just like the music sounds. I feel like everybody has two different lanes that they're in you know? Like an alter ego or something. I just had to switch it up a bit.

Do you feel like you make the same music or is it a different take?

It was the version that more people as far as the mass, would like. I don't want to use the term "regular people" but people as a whole can understand more so than Black Kray.

If you look at the history, I feel like you could see the difference, you can see the numbers too.

What are you into other than making music?

Regular shit. I like cooking. Me and my shorty always be cooking. I really fuck with bowling, I like t go bowling sometimes. or go-kart racing. Other than that just sliding out and mobbin.

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