Listening to 14KT's Dilla-inspired productions, you'd never guess they're created spitting distance from a cornfield. But in a way that makes sense. See, KT's home for the last six years is in a subdivision on the rural southern edge of Ypsilanti. And just like his house lies somewhere between Ann Arbor and Detroit, KT's sound falls between the two cities' different sounds and realities.
Production-wise, KT (né Kendall Tucker) is a master at matching classic hip-hop beats with obscuro prog, electronica and new age (yep, new age) records. We're talking albums you'd probably never pick up, even for free.
But KT has an ear for finding gold. "I'm just trying to find records I don't usually see, that's what makes the game fun."
The former Athletic Mic League emcee/producer has worked with many A-listers including Carl Craig, Phat Kat, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, One Be Lo and Elzhi. Lately he's finishing up his debut solo-album, The Golden Hour Soundtrack, which is set for July release on A-Side Worldwide.
Strolling past his ridiculous snow globe collection, we see KT's home studio (called "The IS" for the Inspirational Source), which is an eye-popping floor-to-ceiling shrine to his heroes. The space is covered with photos of everyone from Dilla to Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin, Muhammad Ali, Erykah Badu, Isiah Thomas and University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler.
"Whatever inspires me is on this wall," KT says. "I walk in here with nothing, then look around and see musicians, athletes, proverbs, women, friends and family, and ideas just pop out of my head."
You can check out 14KT's podcasts, "Karat Gold Radio" at http://karatgoldradio.podomatic.com/