Kevin Kartier & The Aviator Gang

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Kevin Kartier. Kevin’s dedication to the hustle can be attributed to his unique childhood. Growing up in a household where it was not uncommon to hear a Tupac track blasting through the speakers, quickly followed by a classical track, he earned an appreciation for music at an early age. His unique sound was inspired by his roots in a small town in south. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina he and his business partner Tevaar Smith were determined to turn tragedy into motivation.
C.S. :For our listeners who haven’t heard your music, or mixtape who can I tell them Kevin Kartier is?

K.K. : I’m an artist. I like to draw on whats going on in my life and how I feel at the time. A lot of the time, the music that I’m making is a direct correlation of whats going on in my life and how im feeling. …. Sometimes it just seems seemless, like im not even trying really. I don’t like to force things, I just let them happen. That’s when the best music is conveyed. That’s what I like to put in my music. A little piece of me every time I record a track.

C.S. : Im sure your fans can appreciate that fact that your music is authentic. So I assume that that’s where the whole Swagger Music came from? I read that, that was kinda the aftermath of everything that happened with Hurricane Katrina.

K.K. : Basically, where I’m from is a small community. Its not Atlanta, or even New Orleans. It’s a small community. Being from down here I was always submersed in that southern music. In ’06 – ’07  I met up with my partner Tevaar Smith in high school and we’ve been grinding ever since. I’m just really appreciative to have made it as far as I have. It’s a surreal feeling. How many people can say they’ve truly followed their dreams? ’06 – ’07  that’s right after Hurricane Katrina so that really brought us together. Like, nobody had anything really. You know, you come back to your city and everything you’ve know from a child is gone. That’s a really dramatic thing. But in the face of adversity that when a person’s true character shines through. So me and him being able to come together I feel like was a sign from God. Because he moved away. He lived in Atlanta for a little bit and he almost didn’t come back. But he did. I saw that he really wanted to be apart of this so I was like, why not? Your only as strong as your weakest player. If you have two strong players, how can you go wrong?

C.S. : So how old were you when you first fell in love with music?

K.K. : Well, I just turned 22 about a month ago so, I have to say it goes back to being a child. I’m the product of a mixed marriage. My mom is from Korea and my dad was in the military, he’s a white guy. I was born over there and they came over here. Being from a small town there really wasn’t a lot going on. My dad is a child of the 70’s, so he’s real big into classically rock, the whole Motown era; back when they used to play instruments a lot. Now my mom, she was younger, energetic, and didn’t speak a lot of English. So she got into popular music when she came over here. So me being a little kid, and your on 3 hours car rides and the music is changing from genre to genre, how can you not fall in love with music.

C.S. : Talk to me about The Mile High Club. What can we expect from that?

K.K. : Wow. You know how to press my buttons! That is my new baby. I feel like The Mile High Club is the culmination of the last few years. Ever since The Crown & The Crest, which was the first one that DJ Smallz dropped, we never looked back. I did a mixtape with DJ Rellz called Constantly Consistent, I did a track with DJ Aims from the UK called “The Coronation,” and every we would do something, it would be in increments. It was always the product of hard work and dedication. It was all about growth. And that’s what motivated me to keep doing what I do.
C.S. :  So, what artists give you that feeling?
K.K. : Well, of course Mr. Kanye West. Growing up I was a big fan of UGK. The whole southern rap thing because at the time, that’s what was popular amongst my peers. I remember being a little kid listening to Reasonable Doubt, thinking what is this? This is not interesting. But fast-forward 8, 9, 10 years later and I’ve had more life experiences. I can fully understand the [contrasts] and the imagery. Its like, wow. To be able to say what you want to say, and to do it so cleverly that’s what always impresses me. That’s why Jay-Z was my favorite artist growing up. It blew my mind, just his versatility. How he could go from a song like “Girls, Girls, Girls” to “The Evil,” [which is] one of my favorite hip hop songs ever. But then I got older, around 16, and Kanye dropped, College Dropout. That album changed my life, single-handedly. There’s trendy people, and then there’s trendsetters. He is a true trendsetter.
C.S. :Well thank you, Kevin. You’ve pretty much wrapped up everything  I was going to ask you. Is there anything that you would like to add?

K.K. : Earlier when you asked about Swagger Music, we’ve kinda changed the name. Swagger Music started before the term really got popular. But now that’s its so popular and commercialized, there’s a whole different meaning behind it now. We’ve reverted away from using that. Now the term we use is The Aviator Gang. That’s what were promoting right now, and how we’re branding ourselves from now on.

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0c4g78x has written 51 articles for BE Entertained Magazine

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