Kayo Genesis: Breaking Traditions to Creativity

By Joey Perkins, Contributor
[Photo via Spotify]

Kalik Osborne has always taken an untraditional route in music. From his songwriting process to signing to 2020 Gold, his artistic pursuit has been driven predominantly by his creative outlets and inspirations that exist far beyond his rapping career.

Now known under the name Kayo Genesis, the Palmdale, California native takes influences from his past endeavors — a pivotal launch pad to Genesis’ diverse craft today. His social media flaunts his diverse portfolio, containing works of photography, cinematography and graphic design, to name a few. While crediting prominent rappers such as Tyler, the Creator and Kanye West for giving him the “confidence that change is possible,” Genesis was first inspired to create music through dance.

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“I used to be a part of a dance group, which led to music creation. I’m influenced by architecture, design, technology and the idea of a doper future,” Genesis says.

Genesis approached stardom on SoundCloud four years ago, with songs with thousands of plays. His hit track, “Distance,” has amassed more than 1.5 million streams on Spotify; many of his other songs have more than 100,000 streams each.

Genesis’ journey has been all about his unique approach. His genre-bending sound of old-school and modern hip-hop with infusions of jazz, funk and R&B is just one of the aspects that stand out in today’s seemingly oversimplified sound of hip-hop. He can be just as braggadocios as he can be introspective, and by keeping the audience on their toes — listeners never know what he’ll create next.

Genesis likes to spice up his creative process, but common themes of social and political issues remain consistent throughout his discography. On the surface, his track “Rich Lives Matter” seems like an upbeat, club banger. Once the lyrics are dissected, however, the song touches on issues like economic disparity and police brutality, as he preaches, “None of these n****s with badges are innocent / they do not give a shit, fuck all the censorship.”

Other songs like “Woke” give a voice to oppressed minorities in the United States: “I been just working the system to find the hidden truth, and we gone need advances / Don’t fuck with my mental, my money, my family, my dinner / Like do you think I’m stupid? / They lower my wages, I get it / I help ’em, they hate it.”

Genisis’ wisdom-driven, introspective side, as well as his lyrical ability, shines on tracks like “Ceilings” and “Sushi & Grape Juice.” Genesis seems to have mastered the art of keeping his tracks relatable to others, while also continuing to unapologetically be himself. “‘Ceilings’ is a song about the battle that you have with yourself,” Genesis explains. “The only limitations you have are the limitations society gives us and the ones we believe in.”

Though his discography also has deep cuts with a lot of emotion, he hasn’t forgotten how to let loose. Songs like “Edible” and “Cuervolade” are lighter tracks with infectious beats and witty one-liners. Above all, it’s no surprise that his tracks are a reflection of his multifaceted creativity. “I think knowing myself is a big part of my journey,” he says. “I understand that I can be very wisdom-driven, but I tend to keep things lighthearted at the same time, which gives me a range of emotions to produce all of my records.”

Genesis is currently signed to 2020 Gold, an independent record label where he has control over his musical output. 2020 Gold has helped Genesis maintain a platform to release his music and nurture his creativity even further.

“Meeting 2020 Gold was like meeting family, and I truly felt that they had my best interest at heart,” he says. “I’m noticing more challenges as we grow together, but ultimately we will get past these challenges and create amazing creations together. I’ve just always heard from other artists not to sign with major record labels and being that I had never signed with the label before, I just trusted my gut.”

Signing with 2020 Gold, although a big step for Genesis, seems to be just the start of what he plans to accomplish. He humbly claims, “Kayo Genesis will be everywhere pretty soon. Tokyo, Paris, Bali, Greece, Africa. My music and videos will be around the world. I’m going to make more music projects as well as short films, which will lead to full-on inventions.”

Although Genesis hopes to gain more success, it’s more than just fame. “I enjoy the [music-making] process,” he muses. “It challenges me in all forms, and the ideas are at their greatest points during session time. What reaches the public is a watered-down industry version of the creation. I love making music; I get into a ‘flow state’ where time doesn’t exist.”

Genesis’ plans to strengthen his brand have been nothing less than groundbreaking so far, and he still has so much more to prove. He released his debut album Bad Sushi in 2018. Since then, he has released multiple singles that prove his growing musical and personal maturity.

“This is not a traditional route, but I don’t feel like a traditional person; I just make what I feel at the moment. I’m hoping to break traditions and bring people into the future with my creations.”

Listen to Bad Sushi below:

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