Brooklyn emcee K.Gaines presents the Rae Maxwell-directed music video for “Opulence”, the first single from Ticket To Elsewhere, his forthcoming collaboration EP with Los Angeles-based producer Maxwell Benson dropping December on Priority/Capitol Records. Ras Kass, Lyric Jones, Phaze4K, Leo Coltrane and Sebastian Marciano are set to appear on Ticket To Elsewhere, the first of five EPs K.Gaines plans to drop in 2018, each of which will be a collaboration with a producer from a different region of the US. Maxwell Benson has worked with Too Short (stream “19,999”), Rapper Big Pooh and Sadat X (stream “Sadat X Is Back”), and gives Ticket To Elsewhere its West Coast focus. Gaines’ last album was Rumspringa: The Wildman Chronicles (Spotify) and starred in the short film Kung Fu Bum (Youtube) which was showcased at several film festivals. Los Angeles visual artist Reef Kills provided Ticket To Elsewhere’s cover art. The artwork for each EP in the series, once juxtaposed with each other, will form a more intricate visual piece with all the purpose and intention of a map which can lead you to hidden prizes around the country. “I was listening to a lot of Tribe Called Quest when I made this track,” Benson says about the new single. “I was really geeking out over their use of basslines and wanted to make my own version of that. Getting in the studio with Gaines is always an exciting venture. He has a secret method and ritual that has to happen before he lays all his vocals that only those that work with him know about.” Regarding “Opulence” Gaines says simply,”Either you are with it or not. If you don’t get it then it wasn’t meant for you. If you get it… welcome to Ticket To Elsewhere.”
What do you think surprises listeners the most about you?
Maxwell Benson: My use of weird sounds to make it all work together.
• There’s layers upon layers in my music. Everytime they listen to a song I make, they will always find something new.
• How I rarely use the same flow on each song. It bores me to hear the same flow repeatedly.
• I’m a hood nerd with a cornucopia of facts. Some are useless, most are very useful. It helps with the rhymes.
Who’s your favorite producer ever and why?
Maxwell Benson: Swiss beatz. I respect these guys because he seems to keep it level along with being super creative and thinks outside the box with his business affairs and music production.
K.Gaines: Ever is a very long time. Currently and for quite a while it’s been Kanye West. He pushes the boundaries of music sonically and musically plus he is fearless when it comes to experimenting. As an artist who likes to live on the edge of the limits this is something I look for in producers thus the reason I’m working with Maxwell Benson.
You are cut from the cloth of the last era of real underground emcees brought forth from NYC. How have you managed to evolve that style into something new? Was it a conscious decision or just something that happened?
K.Gaines: it’s a conscious decision in the fact that I don’t like doing the same thing twice so in order for me to keep doing something that challenges me I have to evolve…CONSTANTLY! When I get to the point in my career where I can’t do anything innovative or different from what I’ve done already, then it might be time to hang up the mic chord. I truly respect the culture of hip hop and those who have paved the way so I feel it would be disrespectful to them and my creative process to just make music to help push whatever destructive corporate agenda is prevalent at the time. Me being original is my personal fight and victory against the Status Quo.
Maxwell Benson: To me Gaines and I pull from the past but are very future based in the sense we make shit we feel and not for the masses. We are more interested in pushing the boundary lyrically and sonically. then just making some shit top 40 is gonna like. I can’t stand the same I love different in my music and people.
Did you and Maxwell make the record together? Did you travel to Cali to make it? What was the process?
Maxwell Benson: Yes unfortunately (hahahahah) I had to put up with K Gaines antics for a couple weeks during recording of this project when he came out to Cali. Sometimes he is the most profound motherfucker you have ever met and other times you feel like you’re running a kindergarten class and little baby Gaines is acting up.
K.Gaines: I don’t know what the hell lunch lady Benson is talking about, but the process was organic. Since there’s 5 EP’s coming out from 4 different regions I feel it’s best to record with the producer on their home turf, to get the vibe of the land. So recording ’Ticket to Elsewhere’ on the west coast, feeling the relaxed energy of California and being able to get creative input from Maxwell heavily influenced the trajectory and arch of our EP,’Ticket To Elsewhere.’ The legal trippy treats helped too haaa!
What are your predictions for 2018?
K.Gaines: I predict that we are going to put 100% of our energy into making the world aware of this dopeness we have, they will know the name Ticket To Elsewhere
Maxwell Benson: People are going to come back to revolutionary music that has some meaning and depth to it.