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HitKidd stakes his claim as Memphis rap evolves

Brianna A. Smith.(Photo: Chris Xantana)

Memphis rap is in the midst of a special moment. The city’s youngest and brightest talents are actively developing their own distinct takes on what the Memphis hip-hop/rap scene can be and showing that it can thrive beyond the borders of its region.

“The music attention surrounding Memphis – both old and new – feels like the beginning of an eruption,” said Anthony Lorenzo Holmes Jr., better known as HitKidd, Memphis’ hip-hop’s most in-demand producer.

Growing up in South Memphis, HitKidd found he had a passion for creating beats from an early age.

“I was 14 years old when my neighbor and I began to produce beats. He approached me with a certain software and we played around with it, and eventually mastered it. I just continued to create from there.” – Hitkidd

“I was 14 years old when my neighbor and I began to produce beats. He approached me with a certain software and we played around with it, and eventually mastered it. I just continued to create from there.”

An educator at Craigmont Middle School, as well as a defensive coach for the football team, HitKidd graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 2017 and is currently enrolled for his master’s degree in education at Grand Canyon University. Somehow he still finds the time to produce some of the hottest tunes out.

HitKidd’s sound is heavily influenced by DJ Squeaky and rap legends Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat — a calculated blend of haunting, atmospheric melodies and crisp trap drums.

“The very trap sound everyone in music is using to dominate the planet was born in Memphis,” said HitKidd. “I would personally say my beats sound a lot like an old Memphis sound, with a present spin to it. I tell people all of the time, my music is heavily impacted by my upbringing in Memphis.”

Lately, HitKidd has been getting notoriety for his work on Memphis rap artist Duke Deuce’s latest album, “Memphis Massacre.” Deuce recently signed a deal with Quality Control Music, the record label of rap artists Migos.

“My collaboration with Duke Deuce came naturally. He had a buzz going on in the city with his hit song, ‘Whole Lotta,’ and I was a fan of his sound and rap style. I reached out to him and sent him a few beats, and he liked what he heard. I ended up producing the majority of his ‘Memphis Massacre’ project, including ‘Unload’ which features rap artist Offset from the rap group Migos,” said HitKidd.

Memphis rap was once a hyper-productive niche scene, where local DJs and producers were the main focal point and usually had a rotating cast of guest rappers for their productions. HitKidd — with his knocking bass and 808s formula of grundy chords and wicked hi-hat beats — is bringing that wave back by releasing his next project.

“I’m currently working on my first and final album, ‘Mastermind,’ to be released on all music platforms in 2019. ‘Mastermind” consists of only beats created by me, that will be available for lease or purchase. My goal is for every album after this release, to be a collaboration album with an artist.”

In an effort to expand his horizons, HitKidd has already collaborated with many local Memphis artists, such as Tee-Top, Big Mota, Goldie, Lil $tunna and Mac JRoc, to name a few. His mixtape, “HitKidd for President,” was released on the music app Spinrilla in July and also features uprising Memphis talent.

“I recently got my first million views on YouTube. I produced a song called ‘Let Me Know’ by Big Boogie. That was major,” said HitKidd.

To contact HitKidd, visit @hitkidd on Instagram. HitKidd also welcomes questions at his Twitter handle @0hitkidd0.

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