Speaking to Roosevelt earlier this month, it was clear he isn’t just some hired R&B crooner enlisted to give a boost to HS87′s hip-hop tracks. Roosevelt can lay down a silky hook, sure, but he sees himself as a producer first, and hopes to model his career after Hit-Boy’s — spending just as much time and effort on other people’s music as he does on his own.
Watch up top as we chat with the Hit-Boy protege about writing the perfect sex jam and breaking free from R&B’s corny side by embracing “the dark vibes,” and read on for more on K. Roosevelt.
FULL NAME: Kevin Roosevelt
BORN THIS WAY: Roosevelt grew up with music. His father is Grammy-winning blues musician Keb’ Mo’, and he began playing the drums as a child. So his influences run the gamut from James Taylor to Taj Mahal to Paul Simon. But it wasn’t until K. was in his late teens that he started really listening to hip-hop and thinking about producing.
SOUNDS LIKE: Roosevelt’s tunes call to mind Frank Ocean, but with a bit less navel-gazing. He strays from R&B’s current “turnt up” trend, but sounding different is just a byproduct of his perfectionism. “I try to sound good,” he said. “I’m hard on myself as far as my stuff, so I try to fine tune everything I do. If it comes out sounding different, then that’s great.”
THE PRODUCER’S EDGE: It’s common to find rappers who do their own production, but the R&B singer who pulls double duty is a rarer breed. And Roosevelt thinks that gives him an advantage. “It helps because I can just do whatever I want. I kind of struggle explaining how I want things to sound, so I can just do it myself!”
DREAM COLLABORATIONS: “I would love to work with Kendrick Lamar, Drake and a lot of L.A. artists,” he told us. Well, Hit-Boy’s certainly a label boss with the connections to make those dreams happen.
WHAT’S NEXT: After making a couple contributions to Hit-Boy’s All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of compilation, Roosevelt has started work on his debut EP. “I’m really excited about it. No idea when it’ll come out. Maybe after summer, who knows. I’m just gonna keep going ’til it’s good.”