Kawan “KP” Prather On DJ Duty For The Global Spin Awards
Last week The 2017 Global Spin Awards went down in New Orleans on Thursday. BOSSIP had the opportunity to catch up with Grammy winning songwriter/producer Kawan “KP The Great” Prather before the show about serving as house dj for the Global Spin Awards, his new role as head of music at Pharrell Williams’ I Am OTHER collective and the truth about the voting members of the Grammy Awards.
For those who don’t already know, Prather got his start in the music industry as DJ for Parental Advisory, a Dungeon Family act. In his years since, he’s gone on to write and produce for numerous acts and worked as an A&R at labels including Sony and Atlantic. Most recently Prather has been a highly visible DJ responsible for setting the mood for some of the hottest parties in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York.
“I’m overly excited,” KP told BOSSIP about heading to New Orleans to serve as official DJ for the Global Spin Awards. “I’m anxious, actually kinda nervous, not in a scary kinda way — I guess anxious is the word. It’s deejaying for your heroes. It’s weird. I feel good about what I do but I haven’t done it in a space with these kinds of eyes and ears.”
Prather told BOSSIP the Global Spin Awards are important because good DJ’s don’t get their just due.
“It’s important we recognize great DJ’s,” KP told BOSSIP. “A lot of times the craft doesn’t get the credit it deserves because there are a lot of really bad DJ’s stinking up a room, in their headphones, in their own little world. You have to shed light on people who do it as a craft.”
Especially excited for the No Limit Reunion planned at the Awards, Prather said New Orleans was the perfect setting for this year’s ceremony.
“They make the most Lit music, from Bounce to Rap — everything about New Orleans is so festive that it inspires that energy,” Prather explained. “Even the hardest murdering songs feel fun. C-Murder “F Them Other N’s” doesnt ‘even feel harsh when it’s on. To be celebrating No Limit and DJ’s in New Orleans — it’s the perfect place.”
Besides his duties at the Global Spin Awards, Prather has been busy in his role as Head of Music at I Am OTHER — Pharrell Williams creative collective.
“I run the music portion of all things Pharrell, but he has so many portions to him,” Prather said, happily listing Williams’ many accomplishments. “His access is fashion, it’s movies, it’s now about to be TV. I feel honored to feel respected enough and that he feels comfortable enough to put that in my hands — based on how important he is to the creative world. It’s a real big deal to me.”
KP says the pair reached their working agreement in a moment when they both were wrestling with some career discontent.
“Ironically it came out of both of us being super frustrated,” Prather recalled. “There was a moment when the song “Happy” was supposed to go somewhere else and we both thought it was a good idea, but for one reason or another nobody else was on our side about it. It came down to one of those conversations of ‘Man, you should just do it.’ We have been working together since T.I. ‘I’m Serious.’ Pretty much every project I’ve done, he’s had the opportunity to work on it if he wanted to and he always showed up.”
“We’ve had a very trusting music relationship for so long that we were having this conversation where we both were in a place where, after you’ve accomplished anything, after the accomplishment is over, you’re new again. There’s always a thing of as you grow older, you’re constantly being questioned about whether you are still in touch with what’s hot, and even if you are, it’s just assumed that you aren’t, so we were forced into a place where we were the only people who believed what we were saying. After “Happy” took off, he was like ‘Look man, I know you are frustrated and I need someone I trust music and tastewise here. If that’s something you’re interested in, we can just start something.’
It was kind of a no-brainer for me, because it was like what else is there for me to do but start something new? The fact that it’s called I am OTHER made it cool, because it was like it could be anything. We get to do a lot of fun stuff. It’s cool because we know each other, and understand our intent and the goal. It’s cool to work with Pharrell because he also understands why it’s important for me to be creative on this side and express that on the DJ side. For Complex Con we did an I am OTHER set with all the artists and I dj’d the set as kind of a Music Director. There’s a picture that we got that I put on my Instagram that I love because it’s the entire crew on one stage and being up there, but in the background where I enjoy being, but still being a part — it was just a really cool thing. As a crew and as a company everybody around us is really talented and it’s amazing to be in an environment where that’s cool.
What Prather is describing sounds like a dream job, and that’s exactly what it’s become for him. In his role he’s constantly working with Pharrell as well as their young artists, who include Kap G, Bia and Buddy.
“The roster — it’s shapeshifting,” KP admits when we ask him about the artists who work with the collective. ” I signed Kap G when I was at Atlantic, but when I left we were able to do a partnership with I Am Other and Atlantic so I’m still able to work with him. We have an artist named Buddy who has a song out right now called “Shine” that’s digitally blowing up. It’s one of those positive inspiring songs. We have an artist Bia, she was just on a #1 Spanish record called “Safari” that Pharrell produced, and her record is about to come it out. Watch the Duck is about to drop, we just did a partnership with Interscope for them, they have a smash record called “Where You Are” that I can’t wait to come out. We have a lot of talented people doing musically acrobatic things — they all kinda land though.
Last year KP won a Grammy as part of the songwriting team behind Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” We asked him about the controversy over Beyoncé losing out on Album of the Year honors to Adele.
“Ironically I’m really aware of the process,” Prather said of the Grammy’s. “It honestly has come down to — our artists and producers don’t get involved, so the votes are by people who step up, and a lot of times those are the older members, those who have moved on from the vanity of it and they’re now in it for a community. We from the hip-hop and r&b community, you know black music, we have to step up and make our voices heard — if we care. I’ve heard people say they don’t care ‘it’s just a trophy.’ It’s one of those things, if you care, which I do, because I think it’s dope that you can be voted for and by your peers, people that are in your industry so they understand the work. Once we start producing and getting money, we gotta look at how we get on as a whole. If you look at the crowd that’s the audience of the Grammy’s — that’s the voting population of the Grammy’s.
Definitely something to think about — riiight?
We couldn’t let KP go without asking him if he had any advice for Pharrell being a father of four himself.
“We just had this conversation,” KP told BOSSIP. “He hit a buzzer beater and tied the game. I don’t have any advice for triplets. His four is different from me having four. Honestly, Pharrell is a good dude and that usually translates into being a good dad. How he’s been with Rocket and his family in general, he’s one of those people who is so aware that he just handles those things really well. I think his wife Helen is a superhero for being able to pull that off.”
If you’d like to keep up on what’s next for KP you can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @kawanprather
The Global Spin Awards airs Thursday February 23, 2017 at 10:00pm ET/7:00pm ET, exclusively on REVOLT