Interview: KNDRX talks new music, Conway The Machine and more.
Up and coming artist KNDRX has been at it for a minute. The man has serious work ethic, with several full length projects and a few tours already under his belt. In late 2021 KNDRX dropped his label debut project GUMBO and made serious waves, ultimately earning him the #8 spot on the iTunes hip hop charts among some of the biggest rappers in the world. He’s managed to keep the momentum going too. We’ve seen him popping up in sessions with legends, dropping new music consistently, rocking huge stages, and producing records and videos for local and national artists alike. We caught up with KNDRX at his Denver studio (where he was cooking up house beats and smoking fat joints) to preview some new music and videos, and talk about his career. Check out the interview below! Photos by Anthony Maes.
Res: My guy, thanks for taking the time to chop it up. For anyone who might not know, introduce yourself:
KNDRX: Yeah, My name is KNDRX, also known as Corey Kendrix, based out of Denver Colorado (for the time being). Born in Oregon, Raised in Texas. Rapper, R&B singer, Producer, Songwriter, Videographer, DJ, Engineer. Connector of dots.
Res: Man, that Conway collab you just showed me is crazy. You been linked with dude for a minute, we saw you guys pop up at Goodness Denver and other spots around the city and outta town, but y’all finally got in the studio recently. I feel like people don’t understand all the work you’ve put in and the shit you had to do to lead to you eventually being in the studio with an artist of that caliber.
KNDRX: Yeah the Con story is crazy…One of my boy’s that I met (in Houston) hit me up one day. It was around Christmas of 2019. Maybe Halloween or something like that. Griselda was on tour with Freddy (Gibbs), but Con was the only one that was showing up for the Denver date. My boy E hit me randomly like “Yo, you know any DJ’s in Denver.” I was like…I had just started DJing, so I was like “shit, I’m a DJ in Denver wassup?! “I was like “Does it pay money?” He was like “yeah, of course….can you DJ for the Benny the Butcher? I’ma plug in my boy with your shit and he gonna hit you with the tracks and all the info and shit” So Chad hit me. And Chad had just started managing Conway, like being his day to day dude…so he hit me like ‘Can you DJ this and that, we’ll pay you blah blah blah…its not gonna be Benny, it’s just Conway, he’s by himself. He doesn’t have any of his shit. I’ma send you the songs, you just gotta show up to sound check at 7, Con will be there.” I was like, aight, cool whatever. So I look up Conway, and I’m like Oh these guys are dope…I had never heard of him, well I had heard of him but I had never heard the music.
Res: Right, well at that time Westside Gunn was the most crackin’….
KNDRX: Yeah exactly. So I got to Cervantes, I had done a bunch of shows with Freddy, I already knew Freddy, We done a bunch of shows and shit, so we were chillin. Con’s not there. Stizz is there. Cousin Stizz. I know Stizz through some homies in Boston. So we’re all chilling, vibin’, Con don’t show up. I keep asking everybody, like “you know where Con at” they like “hell be here.” Con don’t show up. The house start filling up. The sound dude come get me like “you ready to go on?” I was like “shit I aint even talked to bro.” They all like “he’s on his way he about to be here.” Im like “aiiight….” So I get on stage, they gave me a few records to play before hand, and mind you, I ain’t really DJ’d that much, so I’m like kinda freakin out like damn I better not fuck this shit up. So I start to play the records, and I see this fool pop up, with the yellow Jacket, and he walked up like “You ready bro?” And i’m like “Shit let’s go!” So….perfect set, we killed it. Know what I’m sayin? Soon as its over, this fool runs off stage, so I’m like “ok…so thats how it is?!” So I pack up my shit. I go upstairs to the green room, and uh. It’s just Con and he’s like “what are we doin tonight bro?…let’s go do something. Let’s turn up. Let’s go to the strip club. I was like bet. So I had a girl at the time. She called her homegirl. We all went to the strip club.… aannnd, we been cool ever since.
Res: So it’s been a minute building that relationship then….
KNDRX: Yeah, he didn’t even know I rapped and shit for like 3 years. I never played him any of my music. Long story short…one night they were at the studio, he invites me to the studio. And we’re (there). It’s like one of the first days I was over there. Im like “this is a trip” nah mean? We end up going to the strip club one night… You know Love? the artist? She’s dope. She rides in the truck with me, so I show her some of my shit. She’s like “you ain’t show bro (Con) none of this shit?!” She’s like “Im about to go and tell him right now.” So we get back to the studio and she’s like “you gotta hear bro (KNDRX) shit.” So I played some shit. He’s like “yeah you nice.” So then we started running some beats and I just got on one like “yo what you think of this?!.” Con’s like “get in there and kick it.” And then after that, we made like 4-5 records, like we just kept going.
Res: Word. Any of these records gonna see the light of day any time soon?
KNDRX: Yeah. A couple of ’em. I mean none of them are my joints, for any of my records you know what I mean? They all for his shit. So we got a couple of em probably gonna go on the Drumwork collective project, which is his label you know? Ain’t no tellin’ what’s gonna happen with the other ones. I’ll say this much, I heard the album already, and I know I’m not on that bitch…and I think, without saying too much, I think there’s a vinyl, like a limited vinyl only release thats gonna have a record on there too. The other two might never see the light of day…
Res: Ok ok, so I don’t wanna make this all about other artists, it’s your interview. But I also saw you pop up in a session with Kweli and Madlib. Two very particular artists. Like, how did that come to be?
KNDRX: Yeah, shout out Madlib, Shout out Talib. Shout out Chino, my videographer. He shot that video that I just showed you. He’s Talib’s videographer, for a while now. And uh, Mad and Talib were working on a project. I had plugged Chino in with Chad and Con, and he started doing all Armaini Cesar’s shit. So he was like “yo you wanna come to New York? And come check out this SNL shit?” Cuz we be just lookin out for each other, I known him since I was like 14. So like, he’s like “My hotel, I got a couch and shit. Come out here, I’ll plug you in as much as I can. I’m like “Say Less.” So I’m thinking I was going out there on some like, maybe go to the studio, probably just chillin at the hotel type shit. So I get Uber out there to the hotel, the hotel is dope, but they all on Dress rehearsal for Saturday Night Live when I get there, everybody, so it’s like Dave (Chapelle), Mos, Madlib, Talib, Chino…its so crazy, Pete Rock was there. It was insane.
Res: Man, I know you’ve been around the way and shit but that’s an intense room to be in. You must’ve been like a little bit starstruck…
KNDRX: Yeah yeah, so after that, I go back to the hotel. Chino hit me like “we goin to the studio. Come through I’ll text you the address.” So he text me the address, and it’s Electric Lady Studios, which is Jimi Hendrix’s old studio…iconic. I’m not sure who’s gonna be in there, I know Talib gonna be there. I walk in, and I see Madlib sitting on the couch. So I’m instantly kinda nervous like “oh shit.” I’m not sayin shit, I’m just playin my role, being a fly on the wall. So many people in and out that bitch. Me and Chino go to get a drink. Mad walks in, he stars pouring up a drink. He asks me what I do. I’m like “I rap, you know, I been doing a bunch of work with Conway.” He’s Like “I LOVE CONWAY.” So we go back in the studio. People start passing the AUX around. Then mad looks at me and he’s like “Lemme hear one of them Conway records.” I started shaking bro. But I was like “aight bet.” I Played em that one (that I just showed you) and a few other ones. And they was fucking with it tough. So then me and Mad just started chopping it up. Come to find out, he’s coming back to the same hotel as us, for the whole weekend. So me and mad got super tight from there. So yeah man that was that, that shit was fuckin’ crazy…built a lot of relationships.
Res: Thats the shit you can’t teach bro, that I see with you is like… just the art of finesse. Like, you could have dope music, you could have bread or whatever, but knowing how to act in those situations is everything.
KNDRX: Yeah, and, honestly, I do a lot of favors. Like people need a lot of shit in this industry. People be like aye can you do this, this and this? I’ll do that. I’ll do a little bit of grunt work….like if I fuck with you. Im not just gonna go do no bitch work for anybody, you know what I mean? But like, I’ll go fuckin’ run to the store and grab whatever, if we at the studio chilling. I ain’t trippin. Like you do that shit long enough, you in the game. And then they gonna fuckin, whatever you need, you got it. Its like, thats kinda how it always worked for me, its just like play your role, don’t be afraid to get your hands a little dirty to get what you want out of the situation. You know? And if the people are genuine then its worth it. I can genuinely say from my personal experience, Con and Mad, they’ve been the most generous to me in my career, you know, even allowing me to attach my name to their greatness.
Res: So let’s talk more about your music. I feel like when I first started following you you were more on some autotune modern kinda vibe, now I see you shifting back towards more of a grimy boom bap sound. Where do you see your music headed for the next coming projects?
KNDRX: So music is crazy, its very versatile you know, there’s a lot of different sounds. My biggest thing with rap is like, one dimensional sound, people just sound all the same, it drives me crazy. And I’m very much like that, creative wise….I’m always tryna switch it up. I might make a house beat today, tomorrow I make a fuckin boom bap song, the next day I’ll make a trap song, I might sing some R&B you know? I just switch it up cuz I like a lot of different music and I like to tap into a lot of different emotions. That’s what I’ve been on lately is tapping more into the emotional things, like relatable (shit). I found just like surveying on these last two projects that people really gravitate towards the more relatable records.
Res: You’ve dropped a lot of projects. I think they’ve all been consistent with the quality, the art. etc. What. Do you think made GUMBO the project that actually like really hit for you.
KNDRX: I think a lot of music, is timing and optics. You know, what Ive learned about music is like it’s all mostly based on creating moments now a days. The music is great, but people aren’t even so much focused on that these days, its a lot of just, you’re a content creator. You’ve gone from being a musician to a content creator. And creating moments for people to remember you by. The tricky part to that, is like, figuring out how to top the last moment. Or not necessarily top it but like, keep the momentum going, so there’s always another moment, and keep growing. With music I’ve always found that is just like what is the most relatable, the most personal, usually works the best. And if you can find a way to link that to like a commercial sound, and incorporate mainstream production, mixing etc, and the whole shebang….and then you get lucky, with timing, and it’s a little bit of all that mixed together, and then it just, it works.
Res: So you just told me its been over a year since GUMBO dropped, but I know you’ve been working harder than ever, what exactly have you been working on?
KNDRX: So I got two albums that will probably get condensed to one, and then maybe an EP with some leftovers. Right now, it’s an album and then GUMBO 2 which is called Leftovers so it might be just cutting room floor shit you know. The album’s really dope though, it’s called Wish You Were Here. We’re rolling it out in a completely different way than I’ve ever done, and Im excited about it. We got a nice budget for it.
Res: And thats through your current label?
KNDRX: Yeah through the label and through my private investors and shit. So like between everybody it’s a collective, and yeah its gonna be dope, Im excited about it, its unique, the musics really good. It’s a lot of personal records to me. So I look forward to sharing that with everybody. I’m always just happiest when I’m releasing music. It just feels good. But yeah I’ve got those two, I’ve got a project with Bank, I got a house project Im working on, I got a R&B project. I got beats for days…
Res: Yeah yeah I’ve heard some of those beats! What artists are you cooking for right now?
KNDRX: Uhh… Drew, Rick, Conway, Goose, a lot of them over at Drumwork….CRY (itsoktocry),
Man that dude (ITSOKTOCRY), thats a dude from Denver that’s crushing but he’s like a ghost doesn’t really fuck with the local scene as much. Thats dope though that y’all got a joint.
KNDRX: Yeah, Cry…We got a cool record going on my album. Cry is dope. He’s got a family now but he’s still grinding though all day bro… Oh yeah and Catch of course, Super Love…
Yeah shout out Superlove, that’s my brother. J Morse, Catch Lungs, Superlove whatever you wanna call him, thats the dude. But Word, on that note, any other shoutouts or anything you wanna mention before we wrap up?
KNDRX: Man, yeah, the studio. So I recently moved into this studio. We’re calling it Krue studios. Follow us on IG Krue. Studio. We’re about to open to the public probably in the next month. It’s gonna more of like an environment, block set up. Not so much hourly. We got some great engineers, top of the line gear, and the environment is dope. We got security measures, you can smoke weed. We basically wanna be the place where if an artist comes through town, they can have a whole experience here, they really don’t have to worry about nothin.
Res: One last thing, what’s the very next piece of work fans can expect.
KNDRX: The very next thing you can expect is Me Myself and I, its the first record we’re releasing off the next project, or the next string of releases I should say. And thats probably gonna be mid February. Single, video, full roll out. And then we’re back on that again with the next one. We’re gonna do a few singles and then we’ll release the whole project. We’re doing it in an interesting way. I don’t wanna say too much but its a cool new process. We can talk about it again after it comes out.