A Nomad by definition is someone who is never home, or thought not to have any roots to a particular place. Often, they are discredited with claims that say their lives lack true motivation and may even be said to have no direction. In America, the arts are seldom held in such high regard, i.e. Donald Trump’s defunding of the National Endowments for the Arts. This ultimately results in the relegating of the nation’s many creatives to a lesser category. As per the case with most general statements though, there are some who still fall below the standard; and then there’s Allan Kingdom.
First becoming a force in the St. Paul music scene back in 2011, Allan began to build a buzz. After working with the stand4rd, and other emerging artists in Minneapolis, his distinct voice was noticed by the likes of Kanye West. Since then he’s been no stranger to the hip hop world, dropping his fourth full-length project, which doubles as his debut studio album. His album, titled ‘Lines’, is about coming of age, structuring your career and personal life around what truly matters to you most and being persistent despite all of life’s challenges.
Allan proudly states, “I would say, If you asked me, this is the best music I’ve put out so far,” putting an emphasis on his progress. For some, it’s rare to hear such words of humility escape from a 23-year-old’s mouth, but for Allan that modesty is authentic, fostered by a wisdom that comes with experience.
“I’m always doing better than I was before,” he reveals, “I feel like that’s the best gauge you can have: it’s not even how high you climb, as long as you were doing a little better than before.”
You can hear that satisfaction within the the album’s very first track; his verses full of confident yet scattered vocals. Specifically on ‘Lines’, he’s aiming for “perfection” but he’s also trying to recognise his current successes. To Allan, having a solid foundation is what breeds that success. It’s also essential in order to keep up, he says, “I work best when I’m 360°, all the way around good.”
It’s that type of mentality that determines all other facets of his life, let alone his music career. Whether that’s the crew he surrounds himself with, the way he views distinct situations, or even just the way he feels, you have to consider the full picture. “I’m not just looking at one thing,” he says.
Out on road, you never know what might happen next, and when you can, you have to remind yourself about how far you’ve come; Keeping a gauge on your progress helps keeps you aware, keeping aware helps keep you honest and being cognisant of all those facets of your life, helps keeps you sane.
This is an extract from Viper’s AW17 NOMAD issue. Buy physical and digital copies via Viper World.
Words by Darius Pleasant
Photos by Nick Greseth