Kranium Talks “WI DEH YAH,” Going On Tour With Tory Lanez & The Evolution of Dancehall


Kranium discusses his new single “WI DEH YAH,” what it means to the culture, shooting the video with Tanto Blacks, his memories on tour with Tory Lanez, why he doesn’t believe in goals, advice for aspiring musicians, and more!

Kranium is here to make sure dancehall music remains at the forefront of the music industry, releasing banger after banger while putting on for the genre in the most positive light possible. 

Boasting an international presence and fanbase, the New York-based recording artist carries the nickname “Melody Gad,” which speaks volumes to the type of music he creates.

Moving to New York would be the gamechanger for Karnium, as he linked with uncle and mentor Screwdriver who took him under his wings. Soon, he would sign to Atlantic Records, joining the likes of Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder and Baby Cham to name a few and paving the way for a new generation of reggae artists to follow suit. To date, his standout singles do outstanding numbers, from “Gyal Policy” to “Can’t Believe It” featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Wizkid.

Fast forward to today, Kranium returns with his newest effort titled “WI DEH YAH,” a Jamaican chant that translates to “we’ve arrived!” The record is paired with a cinematic visual shot in Miami, Florida where he resides, as he celebrates summertime in the spring.

AllHipHop: How you been since the last time we chatted?

Kranium: I can’t complain. Everything’s fine, just have lots of reorganizing and trying to figure out this record since it dropped.

AllHipHop: New single “WI DEH YAH” out now, how are you feeling?

Kranium: I’m feeling good. You know dancehall records are not like other records. They have to break in the streets. DJ’s playing it in the clubs, parties, and streets to where it becomes a movement.

AllHipHop: Talk about what that phrase means for you, for Jamaica?

Kranium: Yeah, WI DEH YAH more like I’m in the building! We’ve arrived. It could be you’re going somewhere, someone asks “where you at?” WI DEH YAH, I’m outside. It could mean that you reached a specific destination. It can mean that you’re actually pulling up to a destination. Any context, it’s good. 

AllHipHop: What inspired the original melody?

Kranium: The crazy thing is I normally freestyle melodies that I feel in the studio. I went in the studio, I heard the beat and the first thing that came to mind was happy, party vibes. That vibe of celebrating. That really inspired where I took the record to.

AllHipHop: What inspired the verse or hook? Could you break it down for us? 

Kranium: I was in there hyped. I wanted something uptempo and vibrant. I wanted to have something not too hard, but more of a catchy hook. Not saying much, but saying much if that makes sense. I wanted a vibe. For me, I don’t really write records. I freestyle all the records. The inspiration comes from me just hearing the beat and wanting more tempo. Obviously, it’s a sample by “Start It Up” by Alex Mali. The crazy thing is when I got the beat and heard it, I never heard the actual sample. I went to listen to the song after I heard the beat. The beat was given to me by Non Native and Bordeaux. I just felt drawn to it. We did 5 records, I was just drawn to that song without hearing the sample in it. It was crazy.

AllHipHop: When you made it, were you like “this is the one”?

Kranium: Yeah, this is a vibe. You can’t beat it. Once you hear it, it touches your soul. That’s what I love about the “WI DEH YAH” record.

AllHipHop: Why did you choose to release this as your first record of the year? 

Kranium: Honestly, I wanted to do something different. A lot of artists tend to drop songs closer to summer, with a summer vibe. I wanted the upperhand of dropping more uptempo records. Not too close to summer, but close enough where by the time it gets to Spring, it gets hot. I wanted to have at least 3 months prior to work the record to get it to where it needs to be. Remember in America, dancehall music isn’t a priority, it’s a flavor. To get the flavor, you need to take your time to get the spice to really catch on. I wanted to make sure we give enough time.

AllHipHop: Last time I interviewed you, you said Dancehall is a very unique genre, especially signing to Atlantic. You mention how Sean Paul was one of the first to sign, how has he influenced you?

Kranium: Sean Paul has influenced me a lot. I grew up in New York City and on MTV and BET, that’s all we would see. For me, seeing Sean Paul was the inspiration I needed. Dancehall is a very unique genre. Not everybody gets it. But when you do you can’t stop. That’s what I love about it. My inspiration comes from hearing other dancehall records that came up before me.

AllHipHop: Talk about influencing this new wave of artists, and how it feels to be impacting the current sound.

Kranium: It feels good. Amazing. But I don’t think about it like that. When I’m old like 60 or 65, in my old days, I’ll think about all the influence I’ve transferred. I see myself as an upcoming artist. I keep my mind focused on what else can I sing that people will really like? I don’t really think about the influence and who likes me as an artist, I just do what I think I need to do to keep the vibe alive.

AllHipHop: How was it shooting the music video? I know it co-stars Tanto Blacks. 

Kranium: It was good because Tanto Blacks is somebody who’s always watching vibes. He’s a vibey guy full of energy. The video definitely captured our personalities, the whole dancehall scene. If you watch a dancehall video, that’s what it’s like. The vibes are fire, the girls are all over the place. Dancehall is raw, and that video is very raw. That’s why people like it so much.

AllHipHop: What was the best memory and where did you shoot it at?

Kranium: I shot it in Miami. The best memory was me riding the motorcycle. The guy who came with the motorcycle asked “can you ride a bike?” Bro, I own bikes. [laughs] He was so scared thinking I’d fall. It was dope. I was shocked how many girls on set were fans of my music. One girl was showing me her playlist that’s straight Kranium. It was a great feeling. We just had so many different nationalities there.

AllHipHop: How excited are you to tour “WI DEH YAH”?

Kranium: I’m very excited about the tour. Touring is where I get to express myself on stage and have fun. A lot of people are always shocked at how I can actually sing. Because I don’t really sing on records, I flow. People come to the show and see I have an acoustic vibe. It’s an experience. There’s a bunch of women on stage dancing, all types of craziness. I can’t wait to see the people, go to the parties and afterparties. Everything that comes with it, I love it.

AllHipHop: What state are you most excited to perform in?

Kranium: It’s always good to perform at home: New York City. That’s home. You get to invite your family. Ain’t nothing better than being on stage with your family in the audience. Boston also holds a special place in my heart. Boston is where i had my first sold out show.

AllHipHop: What’s your favorite song to perform?

Kranium: It depends what market I’m in. If I’m in Africa, “Can’t Believe.” If I’m in Europe, “We Can.” In Canada, “Stamina.” Obviously “Nobody Has To Know” is always going to be classic for a lot of people.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melody Gad (@kranium)

AllHipHop: How does it feel to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Toxic? 

Kranium: It’s a good feeling! Not a lot of artists get the opportunity to represent their culture in the height of a pandemic. “Gal Policy” was such a huge record in the core. Whoa I literally had a hit song in the midst of the world shutting down.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Melody Gad (@kranium)

AllHipHop: What are those convos with Beres Hammond?

Kranium: Beres Hammond and I a lot of conversations. We talked about crossover music. I said “I don’t think there’s such thing as crossover music. There’s no such thing as a dancehall crossover artist. I think it’s a myth people created, it’ll never happen.” Crossover is not necessarily a song you see, a type of song you hear. It’s just a great record that people love. There’s no blueprint. Sean Paul’s “I’m Still In Love With You,” all of these are big records across the world created in the small island of Jamaica. That’s what we talked about.

AllHipHop: What are you most excited for next?

Kranium: I’m excited to tour different cities and touch the people and fans. Watch how much I’ve grown. Happy to see people sing some of the songs word for word. I was working on my album for a while, I took a lot of time to really lock in. I’m most excited about tour with my friends. That’s most important, just sharing memories that can last forever. I love driving in America, that’s one of my favorite things. I drive to Florida and back to New York sometimes.

AllHipHop: How long is that drive?!

Kranium: 17 hours. I like driving. I love driving in America. I did it before I went on a tour with Tory Lanez. In 2016, we did 80 shows and 40 cities. 

AllHipHop: How was touring with Tory Lanez?

Kranium: It was the most amazing thing. I met some good friends. It was me, Tory Lanez, Jacqueez, A Boogie was on for a minute, Taylor Bennett. Everyone on that tour turned out to have their own career. That tour had a lot of stops. I met a lot of rappers, the first time I seen everybody. The biggest memory on the tour was: “that girl is a real crowd pleaser.” Swae Lee “Black Beatles,” everyone was freezing. I watched the man perform and the whole entire crowd froze. I saw Ty$ perform, you know me and Ty$ go way back.

AllHipHop: I was gonna say, your video with Ty$ has crazy numbers!

Kranium: Yeah, a lot. Two of them, one was 92 million views and the other was 107 million views. That’s why I create music and don’t care about nothing else on the side. You lock in and just have fun. I love music, I don’t really think about anything else. I think about glory after. If it comes, it comes. Because if you do something, you’ll get what you deserve from it. I just try to keep my mind focused.

AllHipHop: Do you have any goals for yourself?

Kranium: I feel that goals are a myth that people create in their brains. I do everything to the best of my ability for what I want. If I get it, then that’s it. That’s how I look at it. I’m not trying to set no long -term goals, I just do exactly what I think need to be done. Whatever I get from being great at what I’m doing, I accept it.

AllHipHop: Do you have advice for someone who wants to do what you want to do? 

Kranium: Not to many people care about the artist, but everyone cares about a hit song. Don’t let the song be your sound, people love it more that way. I feel some artists are mistaken: they make the first song bigger than who they are themselves. They don’t love “Nobody Has To Know” or “Gal Policy,” they love Kranium too. The beauty of what they appreciate from your record is you as a person. Be the sound, don’t let the song be you.