Before the sun rises, Kenyon “The Dawn” Lowe has done more work than most people will accomplish in their entire day. Determined to be Arkansas’s first major recording hip hop artist, he works very hard to make that goal come into fruition. It would be a great understatement to call him a triple threat, multi-talented, or even a jack-of-all-trades. His long list of endowments includes: businessman, engineer, producer, promoter, writer and performing artist.
Soul Train: When and at what moment inspired you to start rapping?
Kenyon: I started writing at age 9, but it wasn’t until high school that I really feel in love with hip hop.
Soul Train: What was the initial reaction of your family/peers when you started rapping?
Kenyon: When I finally told my patents they were supportive, but my dad wanted me to go to college and get a degree.
Kenyon: I think finding out how to express who I was over music was hard. Unlike poetry, writing music is more personal and required a level of honesty. I struggled with putting that honesty to a beat and making it catch..
Soul Train: Who helped you launch your career from a hobby to the actual first months/years of recording in a booth with legitimate equipment?
Kenyon: I’d give that credit to my longtime set of producers Kameron Brewer and Stan Okoli. Mr. Brewer attended my first performance; at the time I was a member of rap group Fan4. After we were kicked off stage due to one of the members using too much profanity, he approached me. He said he thought I really had talent. I started going to Crisp Recording studios to record, but the price was so high I ended up not getting any of my songs mastered. That’s around the time I met Stan. He liked my work and helped me figure out what type of equipment I needed to start my own home studio. I still work with both guys today.
Soul Train: When did your career really begin to take off?
Kenyon: My career really started to take off in 2006. I was attending the University of Arkansas. I was working at our school’s cafeteria and as a Resident Assistant in my dorm. In 2006 I also started K&K Unlimited productions. I currently have K&K GFX for graphic design and a clothing company.
Soul Train: What groups or artists have you discovered along the way?
Kenyon: Brandon Drake Nelson–aka B-NEL–of MTV’s Road Rule Challenge series; Reggie Fish, aka ShowStella; Courtney J; and Joe Mitchell, aka Yong Bloka, and many others.
Soul Train: Describe one of your greatest accomplishments as an artist.
Kenyon: In 2006 I released my first hit single “I Ball”, a song that featured Reggie Fish from the University of Arkansas Razorback football team. The song received state wide radio play and was played at opening games. I remember walking to the stadium hearing my song being played out in the parking lots of school games. It got so popular the story about the song, unofficially dubbed the Razorback Anthem of 2006, made it all the way to ESPN.
Soul Train: Give an update on your location/career changes since your college years and, why you made that change.
Kenyon: I’m currently, living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. I work at a bank as a personal banker during the day but at night I do hip hop shows.
Soul Train: Has your rapping style change/matured since the early days? If so, how?
Kenyon: I have gotten better at writing from my heart and that has resulted in my fans having a deeper connection with me.
Soul Train: What currently motivates you to continue to pursue hip hop?
Kenyon: My family, we all are involved in music. We sing, rap, act, and play instruments. Music also is an active part of my relationship with my daughter. She and I are always coming up with songs. For a three year old, she has so much talent.
Soul Train: Which qualities make you stand out from other up-and-coming/underground artists?
Kenyon: I would say my sense of humor. I do a lot of skits on my CDs. I think that the fact that I’m at some points playing 3 characters at once in the CD gives a glimpse into who I am as a person.
Soul Train: What artist(s) do you admire or currently inspire you?
Kenyon: I admire Wale and J. Cole. As far as inspiration towards just being myself and making my own stamp on the industry, I look up to guys like Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator.
Soul Train: Describe one of your greatest recent post-college accomplishments.
Kenyon: This past march I flew to Arizona to shoot a music video. While there, I performed at the Songwriters Composers Music Conference. I was recognized by Shawn Barron of Atlantic Records and Geter K of Maybach Music. Both are executives at their labels and gave me some great reviews.
Soul Train: List your albums, in chronological order.
Kenyon: The Rising Dawn (2005); The Hillz Finest (2006); Street Fame (2007); Aggressive Pursuit (2010); Hunting Season (2010); Daily Drops (2011); Daily Drops II (2011); Pens&Papers (2012); Lockout Over (2012); Daily Drops III (2012); and The Lost Keys (2012).
Soul Train: What music are you currently working on?
Kenyon: My self-titled EP, Daily Drops IV, Relentless Assault, a promo song for the Dallas Cowboys, and six other singles.
Roshunna Howard is a public relations professional, news producer and copy/technical writer. Follow her on Twitter @PenmanPro.