Rapper K Camp talks TikTok, XXL Freshman List


K Camp's Instagram

Rapper K Camp, the artist behind the “Lottery (Renegade)” song, popular on TikTok.

TikTok has been one of the many ingredients to the stew of distractions that have kept many of us somewhat sane, and hopefully entertained, throughout quarantine. With TikTok comes viral trends, allowing everyone to get involved and dance along with their favorite creators. 

Music labels may have been on the TikTok bandwagon a lot longer than many consumers realize, something that I recently learned in a press conference interview with rapper K Camp, real name Kristopher Campbell, responsible for the “Lottery (Renegade)” song.

If you’re unfamiliar with the track, it has over 30 million videos on TikTok, in which users have the song playing over their video. Charli D’Amelio, James Charles, David Dobrick and more viral stars have danced to the song on their accounts. The kicker is that K Camp has made hits before this, he’s just been paying closer attention behind the scenes.

Rapper K Camp’s latest release “Kiss 5 (Deluxe)” is available on all streaming platforms. (U Music)

“A lot of folks don’t know Lottery wouldn’t be Lottery had it not been for my label,” K Camp said as he sits in front of two arcade machines and an obscured Misfits band poster. “We did a lot of background work behind that to make that go before it went to TikTok. How do you think y’all got it? How do you think it got on TikTok? We put the groundwork in and did the digital and viral marketing. A lot of folks don’t know that, we don’t have to go that deep into that.”

Something that I did want to go deeper into with K Camp concerns his appearance on the coveted XXL Freshman Class List in 2015, where he was pedestalled alongside Vince Staples, Fetty Wap, Goldlink and more. The magazine’s yearly listing has only gotten more prominent, giving a push to some of the industry’s most dominant figures today, from Travis Scott to Kendrick Lamar. It’s hard to assume hip-hop culture today without these two, among many others, and it can be hard to discern if the list’s placement had really had a great effect on their career trajectory. K Camp knows this and almost has it down to a science, which he explained.

“It’s a lot of folks that don’t make XXL that still become global superstars,” Campbell explains. “But, I’ve done my research with XXL since the first cover. It’s always a timeline thing as far as artists that make XXL. Two to three just shoot up off the cover. Then, you’ve got like two artists who, three or four years after, end up being the biggest in the world. You got Wiz Khalifa, Future, French Montana, Kendrick, Meek Mill, Lil Durk, The slow grind, same one that I’m on, building from the ground up.”

I’ve known K Camp’s music for a while now, with hits like “Cut Her Off” with 2 Chainz and “Slum Anthem,” shaking the speakers of my Toyota during my high school commute and even popping up in my Vine feed, believe it or not. But when I heard “Lottery (Renegade),” I had no idea that it was the same artist.

“Cut Her Off” dropped back in 2013 and even went platinum, as K Camp’s constantly evolving sound speaks volumes to how his music cannot be constrained within time, as his success began to stretch over decades. Kristopher Campbell has never been about reaching for this desirable fame and prosperity – he just lets his work do the talking, when he’s not rapping that is. 

“I don’t chase records bro,” K Camp emphasized when asked about the pressure that comes from having a hit song amidst dozens of other musical creations. “That blew up on TikTok, I’m not in the studio tryna make a TikTok song. Whatever pops, pops! Whatever the culture grabs and makes the next, that’s on them. I run a whole label. I’m an artist and am reading lawyer contracts. A lot of this shit behind the scene folks don’t know, I’m no fool. I’ve studied this shit. We’re gonna see what the next viral song is, in a minute.”

For K Camp, that minute could be a whole decade, or maybe a few months. We won’t know until the song graces out ears in whatever pre-determined fashion that K Camp sees fit. His newest release, “Kiss 5 (Deluxe)” is out on all streaming platforms now.