Why Kid Ink Claims He’s Different From Every Other Rapper

The LA native partners with 1800 Tequila to explain his rise from the streets to stardom. 

Kid Ink is proud of his upbringing. Raised in Los Angeles, the rapper, born Brian Todd Collins, used his experiences in the culturally-diverse city to help him find his footing in the music biz. “I feel like I’ve got more of an open mind being from LA from my creativity point of view, different rapping techniques and overall styles as it relates to production. Just from living here I’ve learned so many different types of lingo, I feel my lyrics are different from other rappers right now which makes me way different in the scene.”

Following the release of his first mixtapeWorld Tour back in 2012, Ink pulled out all the stops in order to achieve his dream. He signed with a solid deal with RCA Records, debuted a number of chart-topping tracks (including ‘Body Language and ‘Show Me’, and found time to release his third studio album, Full Speed, back in February of this year. Now, the 29-year old is the latest superstar (among Ray Liotta and Michael Kenneth Williams) to join 1800 Tequila and their ‘Enough Said Episodes’ video series to “learn what toughness, adversity and success means to them.”

Kid Ink opened up to Maxim about what inspires him to be an artist, working with 1800 Tequila, and the real difference between ‘Brian Collins’ and his rapper persona.

Did growing up in Los Angeles as a kid help or hinder you in terms of access to music?

It helped for sure. I don’t see how it could hinder. I was able to expose myself to more people and gain knowledge on what was going on around me. 

Do you draw a lot of influences from where you’re from?

Yeah, when I speak about specific landmarks and stuff there’s a specific lingo to use. I feel like I’ve got a better understanding of the whole East Coast / West Coast thing. I’m proud of being from Los Angeles but I don’t dwell on pushing that LA lifestyle to anyone, but it definitely comes up when I’m talking about real life situations and things people go through. I just want to talk real life things and situations. I try not to alienate anyone with my music, I try and be as universal as possible.  

What has been your most rewarding moment as an artist?

I think my most rewarding moment was when I heard myself on the radio. Every artist looks forward to hearing their own music on-air and being able to be known as a radio artist has been amazing.  Everything has been so rewarding, it’s a never-ending feeling that you get. 

And you’ve said ‘Brian Collins’ is known to be more of a shy guy. What allows you to change things up and come out strong as ‘Kid Ink?’

Brian Collins is a regular person – he’s chill. He’s not trying to be overly noticed. You get to a point where you’re always in people’s faces in this industry and I’m not that person. I’m not trying to be.  Kid Ink is competitive and he’s tying to prove himself so he’s going as hard as possible, trying to give as much as he can to his fans.


So what drew you to working with 1800 Tequila?

 I’m a tequila drinker more than anything.  When it’s party or hard liquor time I’m always going for the tequila which I think comes from being from LA.  I was familiar with the 1800 brand and what they stand for and the opportunity was something that I agreed with.  1800 is an urban brand that stresses the arts and creativity, they promote their own style.  They’ve always expressed this with people, their consumer, and I connect with that. 

What about the brand will help to tell your story and get your point across?

You know, with 1800 being an urban brand, they understand street culture – they understand my culture. It’s one of those things that just felt natural. The brand represents my lifestyle – and their Essential Artist series really inspired me –  I love art and tattoos. I see how they are creatively and how I am creatively and it just works. I think I can take from that and just speak directly.

Photos by Scott Legato/Getty Images