Kalan.FrFr Wants To "Make The West Great Again": On New Album, Kendrick Lamar's "Not Like Us," & West Coast Mount Rushmore

BYTallie Spencer2.7K Views
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Kalan.FrFr shares his thoughts about about unity in the West Coast, as well as the feud between Drake and Kendrick Lamar.

Kalan.FrFr has been steadily making a name for himself in the music industry, representing Compton, California with his laid-back vibe and versatile singing and rapping skills. His distinct West Coast sound and commitment to showcasing the essence of Los Angeles are on full display across his music. With recent singles like "Everybody," a moody ode to L.A. gang culture, and "Ain't No Fun," which interpolates Snoop Dogg's iconic song of the same name, Kalan's music undoubtedly embodies the ethos of Los Angeles' rich musical history. His latest project, MAKE THE WEST GREAT AGAIN, looks to further push that message and speaks volumes about his mission to revitalize the West Coast music scene.

In a recent interview with HotNewHipHop, Kalan emphasized the project's significance as a wake-up call for the entire West Coast music scene. With Kendrick Lamar drawing attention to the region in recent weeks due to his series of Drake diss tracks, all eyes are on this side of town. "It's about addressing the ongoing conversation in West Coast music where people keep downplaying it," he explained. "I felt it was time to change that narrative, to give people something that would wake them up, change their perspectives." With the assistance of L.A. heavyweights like Ty Dolla Sign and YG, he wanted to drive home the message of unity. "It was so important to make sure that we stick together as a whole," Kalan said.

MAKE THE WEST GREAT AGAIN is a testament to Kalan's message. If it wasn't clear before, he's making it known that this is his rallying cry for the resurgence of West Coast dominance in the rap game. In an exclusive interview with HotNewHipHop, Kalan provides a window into his world, diving into the inspiration behind the EP, his take on the current West Coast music scene, and his personal journey. As summer approaches, Kalan.FrFr is ready to set the tone for L.A.'s hottest season yet.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 05: Kalan.FrFr performs during 2023 Rolling Loud Los Angeles at Hollywood Park Grounds on March 05, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Timothy Norris/WireImage)

HotNewHipHop: Alright, let's dive into your latest project, MAKE THE WEST GREAT AGAIN. First off, what was the inspiration behind the name of the project?

Kalan.FrFr: Well, it's pretty self-explanatory. It's about addressing the ongoing conversation in West Coast music where people keep downplaying it. I felt it was time to change that narrative, to give people something that would wake them up, change their perspectives. So, MAKE THE WEST GREAT AGAIN felt fitting. And it just stuck. It was time to give people a wake-up call and it was just like putting a battery in everybody's back.

I like the title. It definitely speaks volumes. Did you come up with the album title before or after all the beef began?

I had the title. I had it going through the process and I came up with like a whole list of titles and stuff like that. And it was named something else at first, but for some reason, I couldn't name it that and then somebody actually dropped a project with the same name so we couldn’t do that. And then just the whole ambiance of what was going on, it just felt like it fit.

You got Ty Dolla $ign and YG on the project, two West Coast legends. How important was it for you to collaborate with them?

It was so important to make sure that we stick together as a whole, as the West Coast. A lot of times we be so separated on the West, like a lot of people don't see a lot of the bigger artists working with a lot of the dudes on the come-up that was grinding and stuff like that. So just having songs with YG and Ty Dolla $ign, period, is just like fire.

Was it easy to get them to collaborate with you? Have you been cool with them for a while?

Yeah, Ty and I have been making music since the beginning. YG and I go way back too. So, it was more about timing. We finally locked in and made it happen. It was cool.

What song from the project speaks to you the most?

"ANDFUK" for sure. It's just the vibe, you know? Had too many lemon drops, turn me to a different person (laughs).

I remember in previous interviews you mentioned you didn't drink at all. What changed?

Yeah, I changed. I changed for sure. I’ll go to lunch and get like 6 espresso martinis. 

Okay, so what's your vibe when you get in the studio, you have to drink a little bit or smoke a little bit to kind of get in the zone?

I'm smoking all day. Like from sunrise to sundown, I'm smoking. But drinking, I'm not a heavy drinker. But when I do, I'm gonna go hard or go home, for sure, if it's an opportunity. Not in the studio. I'm just vibing, smoking, and making sure I hear some good beats, listening to it, and making sure I got something to talk about.

Where has the inspiration for the music been coming from lately? This new project has lots of different songs, lots of different sounds that you're experimenting with. But what kind of topics, for people who haven't heard it yet, like what are you talking about?

I just been vibing, not too serious right now. For me, I'm just taking everything one day at a time, just vibing, enjoying life for what it is, and taking situations for what they are. So the music sounds vibey, like, I've been outside, I've been living life.

What has been one of the best experiences you've had within the last year, whether it's been a place you traveled to or a show you performed at? Like, what really comes to mind when you say like, life is good right now? 

Man, everything. It's so many blessings. I'm starting to want to go on this spiritual journey or trip real quick, but like, I've been, I've been so caught up in being appreciative for like the little things and it's crazy. It's just getting up every day, you know, and being able to make music and stuff like that. Like that's the stuff that means the most to me right now. Because I'm watching a lot of people in situations and they're not as vibrant. So I just thank God, you know?

That's good to hear. It feels like you have just been able to stay positive throughout your entire journey. Who are people who have motivated you and kind of kept you inspired throughout the way?

My team for sure. Big shout out to my team. Homies, other artists like Ty for sure, and my family. It's just the love be coming from everywhere. And then just… I got something to prove. It's like my fans, the people that believe in me, I got something to prove to them. I want to make sure they keep getting projects, no skips, they keep growing with me, like, you know what's happening, loving the music every time. I'll keep making the experience for them every time they see me. I want to say I’m content, but it’s not content, I'm just comfortable.

Like you said, you have a really dedicated fan base. You know, ladies love Kalan. So when you’re making music for the ladies, what kinds of things do you take into consideration? Whose approval do you gotta get? 

You know, like, I'm like the woman whisperer (laughs). I know what to say. But I ask my homegirls! I'll play songs for them and stuff like that. And it comes naturally. 

Who would you say is your Mount Rushmore of West Coast artists?

No order, right? Ty's on there, definitely. Kendrick's on there, definitely. Snoop Dogg, and Nate Dogg.

I’m glad you mentioned Kendrick. We gotta get into what's been going on on the West Coast right now. “Not Like Us” is going crazy. I need to know your thoughts on it. Who’s side you on?

They're not like us. That's how I feel about it. It's going insane. We just got to see how all this plays out. Musically though, Dot all the way. I’m rolling with L.A..

TORONTO, ONTARIO - FEBRUARY 18: Kalan.Frfr performs during YG's Red Cup Tour at History on February 18, 2023 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Robert Okine/Getty Images)

Has anyone ever dissed you up to this point? 

Not that I've heard. Or someone might have said something about me but they had no followers. It was just a coincidence. But you know, I haven't really encountered any sneaky disses or anything like that. I don't really pay attention to what others say. You know how it is. If somebody ever addressed me with something negative, I'd address it. I don't dwell on it too much. I'm one of those people who just let it be. It's the internet, you know? 

People talk a lot on the internet.  What's the craziest rumor you've heard about yourself through the internet? 

Just rumors about me having kids, you know? It's kind of amusing how stories like that get twisted. No kids. The internet has some folks thinking they've got my love life all figured out, but I've heard all kinds of random stuff like that. But none of it's true. There's zero truth to it. They just make up stuff. 

If you had to pick one word to describe the current state of West Coast music, what word would you use? 

Lively. The vibe in the city. 

What kind of summer do you think we're gonna have here in L.A. this year? 

For sure, it's gonna be lit. Some parties are gonna be crazy because it's already hot. Pool parties are going up. I went to one the other day, and they played "Not Like Us." It was going crazy. Everybody and their grandma thought they were from L.A.. If you don't know what you're doing, just stop. It's the easiest thing in the world. Stop messing it up. Everybody's dancing.

So what do you have planned for the summer? What can we look forward to? 

I’m going wherever the wind blows. You know, I'll travel to Houston here and there. Every time I go there, I'll just chill for a couple of days. So I'm gonna head there. I might go to Miami a couple of times. I'm gonna have fun this summer. I'm enjoying myself. Same vibe. It's gonna be a great summer. Everything in LA is turnt up. I can't wait. The way people have been acting these last couple of days, with new music coming out, I'm just interested to see where it's all going. But I'm here for it. I haven't seen people this excited about music in a long time. It feels special, different. I'm gonna be hitting the studio heavy, record, for sure.

About The Author
@TallieSpencer is a music journalist based in Los Angeles, CA. She loves concerts, festivals, and traveling the world.