I wanted to do something that had never been done before…
The world can be an absurd place — constantly changing and evolving as our access to knowledge increases. Whether it be ancient folklore, angel numbers or musical genres from across the world, the global melting pot of wisdom is bound to spark trailblazing new ideas at any given moment. In Antwerp (“Anna” to the initiated), the flame started with a burning ember known as Kleine Crack and his Memphis-inspired beats with a European twist. The Belgian rapper has pioneered an entirely new genre within the Antwerp music scene: dark and haunting, foregrounding symbols straight out of the occult. Crack and his producer, Slagter, together turn the spotlight on the underground itself. Rapping exclusively in Flemish, their crew, VHS, is comprised of young and upcoming artists who emulate this approach, opening up a constellation of new horizons and directions in which this budding genre can evolve. With such a wide spectrum of possibilities ahead, the future is still partially out of sight. But one thing is clear: after signing to Dutch record label Burning Fik, there’s no doubt that Kleine Crack is seeping through and shining a light on artists creating music that is too intoxicating not to share.
It’s so sick to meet you. I’ve been listening to a bunch of your stuff the last couple of days getting all psyched for this. What have you been up to lately?
KC: I’m taking a couple of rest days and making some music after partying last week.
I can imagine it’s well deserved… Like I said, I’ve been binging a lot of your music videos lately. I love your distinct visual style and how it feeds off your music. How do you approach creating the visuals for your songs?
KC: Our visuals are done by this one guy, Nightvision, and he’s the one responsible for those features — so he’s really just in sync with our vision, and essentially, it’s a perfect match. He’s always done it for us, and except for, for example, three or four videos and specific effects, he’s been the one who’s been able to merge the song with his vision. The same thing with Bubonic: he designs all of our covers and is an essential part of creating our aesthetic.
Love the collaborative vibe. It’s really rare to find someone who can listen to your stuff and take it in their direction.
KC: True — it’s a blessing.
You’re known for the way you imitate the Memphis style — but in Flemish. In many ways, you’ve created your own genre.
KC: Yeah, it’s something new. Before this, I dabbled in some other “genres” of rap, but it never felt right. It didn’t feel like me. So when I discovered Memphis rap — which doesn’t exist in Dutch (or Flemish, for that matter) — I knew I had finally found the thing to fully step into. I gave my producer the direction, and we decided to stick solely to that idea. There’s more competition in mainstream hip hop and nothing truly feels original, but I wanted to do something that had never been done before — and Memphis was that.
Memphis has been described as having a dark, horror movie-like feel. I certainly undergo a release when listening to your music — but I’m also a huge goth-rock and metal fan. Some people ask how I can be so happy listening to stuff that’s so harsh or sad. What do you get out of making this kind of music?
KC: I think everyone has some dark energy inside of them, and a lot of people take it out on others in unhealthy ways. For me, it’s just a healthy way of releasing these feelings. Everyone has a preferred genre or particular way they want to listen to music — some people like softer music, some listen to super energetic music and others are drawn to darker stuff. The great thing is, they all get something out of it. I think Memphis can sometimes be related to something “evil”— but that’s not my vibe. I create dark music because I love the power I feel from making it.
Your style is, in itself, an experience that may not be for everyone — but the people who like it, appreciate it.
KC: I think so too, I think so too.
This is just a personal question. What horror movie theme would you want to sample for a song?
KC: Well, none of our music uses any samples, only vocal ones from our tracks. But if I was ever offered the opportunity to make the soundtrack to a horror movie, I would be down.
Read the full interview in the DAWN issue
Images courtesy of Halal Amsterdam
Words by Alia Ayoubi
Styling by Tirino Yspol
Photography by Elza Jo Tratlehner
HMU by Fé van Vliet
Production assistance by Nique Euwe
Styling assistance by Ella Paritsky
Production coordination by Jessie van de Wiel