Producer and rapper KeithCharles, widely known as a former affiliate of Atlanta’s do-it-together label Awful Records, has cemented his spot as one of his generation’s most interesting multidisciplinary artists. His next EP, KEEF, is due this Spring.
What song reminds you the most of your childhood?
“Still Not a Player,” by Big Pun. “I don’t wanna be a player no moreeee.” Yeah. I have this real distinct memory of going to this lady's house, my then-babysitter. She was like an old ass lady. I’d just pull up to her house and it'd be hella lit, she had a blow up pool, everything. I remember one time when that song was playing in the back seat of her car. I just remember that so vividly. Whenever I think about when being a kid was cool and shit, I think of that song.
What was the first physical record you remember buying?
I don't know if this counts because I damn sure ain't had no money to buy it—but I remember being like, “Mom, buy me this.” It was Michael Jackson’s HIStory: Past, Present and Future, the box set. It came with a VHS tape and I would play the fuck out of that shit. That shit was amazing.
What song reminds you the most of home?
“Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley. “Woke up this morninggg.” Yeah, that was my jam. My mom used to sing that a lot. Shout out Alicia, she really that girl.
What song reminds you of traveling to a specific place?
“‘Vette Pass” by Gucci Mane reminds me of Dothan, Alabama. My first car was a 1991 Buick LeSabre, and my mom got it for me. It was her old car, and I had to drive it back from Dothan to Atlanta.
What is the song that you wish you had written?
Oh my God. I think the answer to this question is the actual telltale sign of an amazing song. Damn. And it's just like, even if I did write it, I don't even know if I could perform it in the way I would want to. It's “The Ballad of Dorothy Parker” by Prince. That’s my shit. There is a drum track on there that I've been obsessed with for years now, and I really wish I programmed the drums on that. And I've spent a good amount of time trying to recreate it - I bought a LinnDrum synth emulator to try to reprogram those exact drums.
What is the best song to play at a house party?
“Stomp” by Kirk Franklin. That song is so Black. It's crazy. If you're sending the party up as a DJ, that shit hard. And it's like you can't - as a caveat - you can't just play it at a house party if you not killing the party. But when you really got niggas eating out the palm of your hand, play Kirk Franklin. You can’t play that for white people, though. They're going to be like, what is this? Even if they know, they're not going to start praising Jesus, and that's what you need. You need the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
I thought about this a lot because first off, not that I'm like morbid, but thinking about my funeral, I want to get “I'll Be Back” tatted across my chest and have a shirtless funeral. It’s kind of like those videos that are like, “If you're watching this, then I'm already dead.” Like a pre-recorded message. If I have any assets to give, I'm going to do like, an auction too. Like, “Bro. This is his printer. Do I hear that going for $150, $250?” Do one of those. Anyways. I'm trying to think. “Trial Time” by Mr. Bigg. “I started selling dope back in 1986 / I bought a Cadillac and put them thangs on that bitch / The brains blowed out with the white leather seats / Fienders screaming for that butter cause that other shit is weak.” Yeah, play that shit at my funeral, bro.
Describe one of your favorite songs without actually naming it or the artist who made it.
I don't want to be sexist or misogynistic. Put that in there too because I'm really scared of that. But this song reminds me of what pussy feels like. Pussy separates your existence from consciousness, and this artist got that feeling directly into this song. It's not about it being sexy. It's not a song I would want to have sex to, but when I listen to it... let's say you get on a magical elevator. One day an elevator door pops up out of the middle of nowhere and you get in the elevator and you press “Penthouse.” All right? And you go all the way up, and imagine like, you’re Osmosis Jones. Like you just, a cell, that’s inside of a vagina. That's what that song is.
You're abducted by aliens and when you wake up on the spaceship, they pass you the aux. What is the song that you're playing to convince them not to destroy Earth?
“Dick on Me” by Pollari. It's on SoundCloud. 102,000 plays on “Dick on Me.” That's a certified SoundCloud Classic. But if that’s not on Spotify or Apple Music, I'm trying to think what else aliens would be into. Okay so first off, they got us at gunpoint. Oh man, it can't be nothing chill. They gotta turn up. Yeah, these aliens gotta turn up. I'm gonna say “Birds Take a Bath” by Future. Because I'm like, “All right, don't shoot bro.” Damn. This question is the hardest one. Earth is in my hands. I'm kind of tired of living. I don't know, maybe I might sabotage this. Let's go “Codeine Crazy” by Future. Final answer. “We done went through too much, you hear me? … That ain't for you dawg / That's for them other niggas.” Yeah, we gonna go with “Codeine Crazy.”