KID PICASSO is the new full-length release from That Honorroll KID, bookending a series of three albums which the Des Moines MC says brings closure to a particular era of his life. The discussion that follows is certainly focused on this release, and in particular a standout track from it titled “Lunch Table Flow,” but it also picks up off of a conversation which began over a year ago when KID was still laying out the blueprints for his Peace God album. To better understand how some of the ideas we discussed then helped inform this new release, that’s where we dove in, talking about the broader journey before relating that more specifically to KID PICASSO and “Lunch Table Flow.”
villin: The last time we connected you had just released Phase 2 and were focused on putting the finishing touches on Peace God. At that time you mentioned a focus on your spiritual journey and I’m wondering if and how that aspect of your journey showed up in KID PICASSO?
That Honorroll KID: For me, I ain’t gonna say I’ve done done all the self work, but I’ve done the self work to the point where KID PICASSO is just more of a… I don’t give a fuck anymore. Like, I can do this, I know I can do this, I don’t care who thinks I can do this, I don’t care who thinks I’m good at it. I’m trying to get to the point of inevitability or undeniability — if that’s a word. You don’t have to like me, but you’re gonna understand that when it comes to this music, I’ve just got a different gear. I’ve just got a different care, a different love for it, a different attention to detail; it’s slightly different than the average artist. As far as the spiritual side of where that shows up, I feel like I’ve done the self work with Peace God, so now I’m just kind of more clear cut and less doubtful about myself and my talents.
villin: “Lunch Table Flow” stands out as aesthetically different on the album, with more of a relaxed boom bap-leaning flavor to it. When talking about the album on Instagram, you likened it to painting a picture. What’s the picture you were painting with this song?
That Honorroll KID: I don’t want to give it all away ’cause I feel like I’m gonna put it into a video and try to really depict it. But at the same time, it’s like the idea, or the vision, that I got from it immediately took me back to middle school days, or even high school days a little bit, just being around a cafeteria, being around a lunch table or a setting where all my peers is around. And kinda just freestyling. I used to freestyle a lot. I kind of got away from it as I’d gotten better with the craft. But freestyling is how I started, rapping is how I started. And I feel like “Lunch Table” is the most rap-like song on the project, where I’m really trying to be a rapper and really sharpen my sword in that area. ‘Cause I kinda felt like I’ve fallen off a little bit in that area.
It’s literally a depiction of being at the table. I got a whole bunch of people around me. It starts off with a little bit of people, somebody’s making a beat off their hands, the table, and the pencil, you know what I’m saying, how it used to be. And I’m just going, and it’s like I just keep going, and the more I go the more people surround me, the more people are drawn to it. It’s like the purest form for me of my music when it comes to rap. I have songs like “Stay Ready” on Peace God, and then I have songs like “Lunch Table” on KID PICASSO. And I feel like those are like really the calling card or the niche for me as far as when I start rapping. And I feel like “Lunch Table” did exactly what I needed it to do. And it helped paint a very vivid picture of being in that cafeteria around that lunch table, and just that type of energy.
villin: Thematically, the first half of the song touches on the navigation of relationships, trying to find the right balance, do the right things, be the right person to oneself and others. What sort of experiences had you been going through that informed the song’s lyrics?
That Honorroll KID: Over the last couple years, I’ve been dealing with a very serious breakup, or situation where things didn’t go as planned. And so I’ve really just been navigating through that and re-learning myself, re-learning what I actually like in life, what I actually want to do and want to be in life. Getting more real with myself on the things that I wasn’t handling well and the things and appreciating myself for the things I do handle well. I think that’s important too, is to appreciate the things you do well even when other people don’t.
So I was around that experience. It was mostly around a breakup and self-awareness. I became more aware of things in my life and priorities and stuff like that. But as far as navigating relationships, it was really just a breakup with my high school sweetheart and then getting rid of people around me who — not necessarily aren’t beneficial, but don’t see the potential of me anymore or have given up on me or view me in certain ways that I actively am trying not to be viewed in.
villin: In the past you’ve worked with 1400slim on the production side of things – who was behind the beat on the song, and did you and Slim link up anywhere on KID PICASSO?
That Honorroll KID: Me and 1400, or a Slim — whatever you know them as — we linked up, when I say we link on production, it’s never like about making the beat, it’s more so about putting shit together or how shit flows or how it sounds. And for this tape, I didn’t really do too much of that with him. I tried to go to other people for that type of help and feedback. I did let him hear the tape a couple weeks before I dropped it and give his input on it, but it was already done by that time. He heard a couple songs before that, but we did link up on one song. I just couldn’t get his ad-libs done before releasing. It was supposed to be “Never Lose” — he has a verse for “Never Lose” — but we link up on everything.
I think that he is a big help and inspiration to me when it comes to music in different ways of attacking certain things. And, it’s like I said earlier, that I don’t need the validation, but he’s somebody whose validation I respect because it’s unbiased. He’s gonna tell me if that shit’s whack, he’s gonna tell me if that shit’s decent. And bro kind of confirmed that it was decent for me. But he wasn’t hands on with KID PICASSO like he was with Peace God. He walked through every step with Peace God. With KID PICASSO I was more on my own and then I had a couple of women’s opinions on it as well. But I didn’t really share with too many other guys exactly what was going on with KID PICASSO. Like I said, I kind of already knew what I wanted to do and knew how I felt about it and knew what it was gonna be. I had that level of confidence in myself for this one, unlike Peace God.
villin: To me, the “Lunch Table Flow” carries a vibe of cutting it up with friends, and carrying over from Peace God are a couple of the collaborators, TC and GnarlyJevy, who appear elsewhere on KID PICASSO. What does it mean to you to have those guys still in your life as friends and musical collaborators?
That Honorroll KID: As far as being with friends or being with people who I keep close to me or hold dear to me, I’m always gonna do the same people. I’m gonna be with the same n****s ’til I die. I’ve always been with these people and we have real relationships. We’re gonna tell each other what’s real or what’s not. We’re gonna tell each other what’s good or what’s not. We don’t always like to hear it from each other. We’re gonna tell each other when we fucking up in life and when we need to get better and do the right things and prioritize the right things. It’s not always easy conversations but it’s conversations we’re gonna have because I feel like we all genuinely really do care about each other and want to see each other succeed. So it means the world to me to still have these type of people in my life.
As far as TC, Gnarly, Slim… There’s a lot of other people who don’t make music but are just as close and just as tight in the circle who are very, very important. Like Kelsey, our manager, she’s very important to me. And Slim’s brother, Coach, is very important to me. My siblings are very important to me and I’m sure there’s a million and one names, like, we got so many other homies who are our biggest fans when it comes to music because they really truly believe what we’re saying and they know where it’s coming from. They actually know us as people so they know it’s not a lot of fabricating. It’s all real, it’s all real moments in our lives that they’ve seen us go through, and our emotions change throughout those times and the music really resonates with them. So it’s a lot of people but those three specifically that you touched on are like probably the closest to me at this point in my life because we all have one goal and one vision. And that’s to make something out of this music and hopefully get somebody to feel us and resonate with them and want to help us push forward and get that step, that foot in the industry, and actually makes some noise in Des Moines.
In conclusion, I would just say that KID PICASSO is just like the purest form of art in itself. I say it’s abstract, but it’s art because I got to the point where I realized there’s no right or wrong way to do music. Everybody has their audience and the music’s going to always find its audience, however that happens, organically or not. But for me, this was like a situation where I really didn’t care, it was about confidence. I knew there’s going to be people who liked it, I knew there’s going to be people who didn’t like it. I knew there would be people who thought it was better than Peace God and people who didn’t, considering Peace God was, like, a moment in time for a lot of people and it was a lot more emotional, and KID PICASSO is a lot more braggadocios, in my opinion.
I want everybody to appreciate the art. I want everybody to understand that I do really care about this music shit. I don’t take it lightly, I take everything personal when it comes to music. I want to make the best project every single time I go into the lab to create one. I want the art to speak for itself but at the same time I’m going to tell you what it is, as well. Like, I really do this, I’m not new to this. Not so many people who can mess with me when it comes to this music stuff, but like I said, it’s still abstract. So it can resonate with a lot of people a lot of different ways. Some people are going to see it for exactly what it is and others will see it for what they see. And that’s okay. But I do know that I’m very different when it comes to this music and if they don’t catch you now, they don’t catch you later, when they do catch you… Touchdown, n***a.
And I also feel like the skits was what made this a better project for me than Peace God. I think that was next level. It was a long journey for these two projects, all three projects in total. This was the wrap-up of the Happy Tears, Peace God, KID PICASSO era. I feel like I’m moving into a different direction, a more mature direction. My next full-length project, I don’t know when that’s going to be. But when I do it, it’s going to be much, much better than where I’m at now. I still feel like I can get much better with music. I haven’t plateaued or peaked, even closely. I have a lot more to offer and a lot more to speak on.