A London, Ont., born rapper is making waves on the music scene after signing with major label Universal Music Canada.
Solomon Marley-Spence, known as King Croft, released his first single samurai chop, Friday under the new label.
The 25-year-old has deep musical roots, being a direct descendant of reggae legend Bob Marley. Krauf was born in London and then moved to Jamaica as a child, where his mother, Stephanie Marley, ran the Bob Marley Museum. Stephanie Marley is an alumna of Western University.
“I learned a lot because I was in that space a lot,” Cruyff told CBC Afternoon Drive host Alison Devereaux. “I probably went there every day after school, so it was very inspiring to see his paintings and learn what he did over and over again.”
Cruff chose his stage name based on what he was called during his formative years in Jamaica. In Jamaican culture the word “crof” is associated with having no priorities, goals or style; It was a nickname Craff wanted to flip on his head.
“I think, in a way, we live in a world that’s very optics-centric,” he said. “I think people focus on how you dress and how you move instead of asking you questions about what you think and what kind of music you listen to and what kind of person you are. Challenge people to be able to be, ‘You have this name, but let me try to find out more about you before I make that judgment call.'”
Listen King Kraft spoke on CBC Afternoon Drive about his new record deal and song Samurai Chop:
Afternoon drive7:17London-born rapper King Kraft signs with major label and releases new single
Craff returned to London in his teens to attend Fanshawe College, then made music his full-time ambition. In January, he was awarded Hip Hop Artist of the Year at the Forest City London Music Awards.
“I think when you look at Marley’s career, he really didn’t shy away from any of his beliefs, whether they were religious, spiritual, political,” Krauff said. “He always knew what he was talking about, and he didn’t care if people fell for it. So I think that’s what influenced me the most.”
Kraft’s musical influences are also diverse, resulting in how he is creating his own unique sound.
“I grew up on a lot of hip-hop, so I’m a big fan of Kendrick Lamar and Andre 3000. I love hip-hop storytellers,” he said. “I also grew up on a lot of reggae. Obviously, you know the Marley brothers, I like that a lot. For the new school of reggae, it would be Kronixx, or Runkas, or Protojay, that kind of energy.”
His latest release, samurai chop, About the internal struggle between conforming to a group and choosing to follow your own path. It’s a poppy track that embodies Kraft’s own dance hall vibe.
See King Craft’s new video for Solo Samurai Chop:
Now working under a label collaboration with Universal and Tough Gong Collective, Krauf says the move has been meaningful for his musical journey.
“I think it came at a time where I was on the upswing, but we weren’t sure where to take the King Cruft status next,” he said.
“When the deal was done, and the signing was done, it was like a very clear vision, kind of an epiphany, and I’m very excited to see where it goes from here.”