Name: Kemar Donaldson.
Birthday: 7 Sept, 1986
Fav Dish: Roasted Chicken
Despite his breakout hit being titled ‘Nobody Has To Know’, everybody seems to know Kranium. The song, recently remixed with rap star Ty Dolla $ign, has been on a steady upward pace since its release – despite lyrics about secret relationships and dirty deeds in between the sheets. Born Kemar Donaldson in Montego Bay, the future star grew up with an uncle in the music business, the dancehall star Screwdriver. Kemar relocated with his family to Florida and then New York as a youth, making his name through his gift for dancehall music – and self-promotion.
“I got signed through Twitter,” the Atlantic Records artist reveals. “They hit me up on Twitter. That says a lot.”
Kranium’s rightfully proud of his digital hustle. His success is due to his methodical work ethic, allowing him to push self-produced hits consistently to an ever-growing DJ email list. ”To be honest with you back in the days before i got signed, whenever I go on Instagram I used to tag people that are active. Whenever an artist tags someone like, “big up this DJ” then you know that the person plays a major part in music, so you tag them. Cause one of them must see it and go, ‘Yo, this kid Kranium, he tagged me on something on IG and it’s dope.’ I’m the type of person who looks at who Beyonce follows, who Oprah follows. You have to look at stuff like that and just try to tag them. It might seem annoying but when you reach that point you’ll realise you were doing the right thing all along. We have so much ways to market ourselves, to be seen, to be recognised. So much ways on social media— take advantage of it. It doesn’t last forever.”
But of course there are two sides to social media: the good and the bad. “We live in a day and age where I realise that people are more like sheep rather than shepherd,” Kranium says. “They’re easily misled. They don’t think for themselves anymore. They reach a point where they just believe anything. They don’t think about the other side of the story. Sometimes it gets to me but then I realise, ‘Listen, this is a job and if your heart is clean and you know what you are it’s OK.”
Despite being the subject of rumours himself this summer – the young artist has denied any ties to a dancehall love triangle with certain female artists allegedly competing for his affections – Kranium is getting ready to drop a new project entitled ‘Rumours.’ The project – more than an EP, not quite a full album, definitely not a mixtape – is helmed by two NYC master producers: LMR (the man responsible for “Nobody Haffi Know”) and Ricky Blaze (who has worked with Rihanna, Major Lazer, and produced Gyptian’s certified-gold smash ‘Hold Yuh’). When Kranium describes ‘Rumours’ as a “soap opera,” the comparison makes sense. Here is a group of songs tracing a narrative arc from secrets to sex to lies, betrayal, and all that follows: flossing, praying, and getting even.