Checking in with the top-notch singer and rapper ahead of his debut LP
At its best, pop music reflects the culture that it’s created in. Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” was a direct response to police violence against anti-war activists. Janet Jackson was partially inspired by the 24/7 IV drip of news about racism and poverty when she wrote Rhythm Nation 1814. Even the Spice Girls’ girl-power anthems reflected a facet of ’90s feminism.
But what does pop music sound like when culture is put on pause? On his debut full-length album Small Infinity, 25-year-old Nashville singer and rapper Houston Kendrick grapples with the kind of introspection that comes with spending a year in isolation.
“The process of making the album in the beginning of the world just going crazy, made everything just feel a little bit more dire and … I felt like I had to go extra hard,” Kendrick tells the Scene. “I’ve always felt that our responsibility as artists is to be a mirror to society. And not necessarily just show people who they are, what they look like, but be a mirror in that you can reflect back what your interpretation is, and possibly teach somebody a lesson.”
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