Kid Vishis has been putting in the hard work over the years - touring, releasing mixtapes, honing his craft – and now he’s ready to step into the spotlight.
The Detroit rapper is the younger brother of Royce da 5’9”, and he proves that he also possesses whichever gene allows you to rap really, really well on his aptly titled debut album, Timing is Everything.
We caught up with him the day after the album’s release to talk about Detroit’s rap legacy, how Drake would do in a battle, and why rappers need to put the focus on their lyrics again.
Congratulations on the album's release, how does it feel?
I feel on top of the world right now, man. It's the first release, and it's like I finally get to exhale. It's the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life, so I'm super excited.
Detroit's produced so many great rappers over the years, why do you think that is?
The hunger is different in Detroit. We have a history of not being unified as a city, and that's due to the competitive edge that's in Detroit. There’s a bunch of different crews, a bunch of different artists, and they all want it bad. Then when they get a taste of it, they want to keep it to themselves. They've been competing so long to get it, they don't want to share. There's a positive and a negative side to everything, but I think that's why there's so many dope Detroit artists.
Who are some of your favourites?
I think Eminem, Royce, and Elzhi are probably the top three of all time in Detroit, but we've got so many dope artists - Obie Trice, D12, the OG Trick Trick, Street Lord Juan, Boldy James, Seven the General, Ty Farris, Marv Won - we got a lot of killers.
How has Eminem's success influenced the Detroit scene?
What's crazy is that my brother was bumping his CD around the house when he first came out locally, and I was saying he was one of the best artists in Detroit.
Back then, Detroit as a whole, was like, “Nah, he ain't no street dude, he just a white boy”. They were trying to hate on him until he dropped that first album, and then everybody was like, “Damn, he can rap, what more can we say?”
That early Infinite tape still holds up pretty well.
I agree. His older material still holds up against the top guys today.
What was it like to perform at Dilla Day with Royce last year?
Detroit only has so many people that we really consider legends, and J Dilla’s one of them. It was an honour to be called upon to represent. His mum asked us, so we had to do it.
Can't say no to Ma Dukes. Have you got a favourite Dilla beat?
This is probably what you'd expect the brother of Royce to say, but the “Let's Grow” beat - [sings] "Let us grow up now we got here" - that's a crazy beat. Damn, now you got that beat stuck in my head, thanks a lot [laughs].
Did you ever meet Dilla?
He actually came over to my mother's house when I was young. He had a Range Rover back then. I was too young to know who he was at the time, but I saw he had a fancy car and was like, "Damn, he must be somebody". Royce was speaking real highly of him, saying he was incredible, but I never got a chance to work with him.
You were at the Total Slaughter (rap battle) event in New York, do you battle yourself?
I've battled before when I was coming up. I'm a big fan of it, and I would get back in the ring if it made sense.
What rappers would you want to see battle?
I want to see every member of Slaughterhouse get in there. Ab-Soul battled Daylyt and he did well, I'd like to see him battle again. I want to see more mainstream guys battle each other.
How would Drake do?
Drake's making a lot of records for the chicks, but you gotta keep it funky, he can really rap. If he actually decided he wanted to come with some battle bars, and that's what he focused on, I think Drake would be crazy at that shit.
How authentic was 8 Mile?
It was actually very close - it's the closest you're going to get to that feeling. When they were battling you had little butterflies in your stomach, like "Okay, what's going on here?" Their bars were pretty good, but it didn't really do Eminem justice. He's way better than that. People don't really understand the types of dudes that he and Royce are - they're not even human when it comes to music.
Royce is the only guest on the album, that's pretty rare for a rap album nowadays, especially a debut.
Yeah man, I was blessed to be a fan, and an artist, at a time when being serious about your lyrics was important. There's a lot of guys now who don't know anything about that. I wanted to prove I can rap, but I wanted to do it my way.
Royce had to be on my album, it wasn't even an option. He's put me on every project since I started rapping, so it only made sense for him to be on there.
Has mainstream rap moved too far away from lyricism?
I think it went about as far down as it could possibly go. It's time for people to start leading by example and making it cool to be lyrical, to make it cool to be listening to lyrics and have to rewind it like "what did he just say?” The bar for lyrics has been super low for so long.
Who would you like to collaborate with in future?
I think I’m on pace to collab with the people I need to work with, and that's what I'm doing with my next album. It's going to be a feature-heavy record.
How would it feel to get an Eminem verse?
[Laughs] Oh, damn. Never say never, man. We shall see.
What about Black Milk? “Losing Out” is one of my favourite rap songs.
He's definitely up there if you're talking about Detroit artists. That's really what I'm focusing on for the next album. There’s some people from around the States that I'll reach out to, but I'm going to try and get hold of all the gunners from the D.
Black Milk described Detroit as "the most underrated city in this hip-hop game" on that song, do you agree with him?
Yes! We have a very talented hip-hop scene and we always have. Any style of rap you can think of, you can find an artist that's dope at it. Black Milk is underrated, Elzhi is underrated, and the list goes on. Even Eminem is underrated to me! People forget what these guys have contributed to hip-hop. These are some of the best rappers in the world so they, along with the city of Detroit, deserve more credit.
Kid Vishis’ debut album Timing is Everything is available now.
Follow Daniel on Twitter, @dan_anwar