Though Kranium has had a few mentors before and after getting his big break in 2013, there’s only one person he credits for really showing him the ins and outs of the music business: singing superstar Usher.
Speaking on a recent episode of Wayne Marshall’s show, The Cut, the Gal Policy hitmaker named Usher as the artist he revered while growing up, and the two would ultimately meet and develop a friendship after he blew up with Nobody Has to Know.
“Usher was the first person weh mi really look up to that me become very close with,” Kranium revealed. “Him give me some of the best advice weh mi can ever ask for, the first big artist weh ever bring me out on stage, the first artist mi ever have dinner with weh mek mi know the game…”
His response surprised a co-host who expected him to name a Jamaican artist, but Kranium doubled down on Usher’s impact on his career.
“Honestly, the insight of a man who was so successful as a Usher, I felt like mi always seh Usher because certain information weh him give me to this day, I would have never had until mi really sit down with the man and the man really break it down to me, like, ‘bredda this is how it work and this is how it go’, and I feel like that kinda give me the confidence, like, alright, cool. Mi just a go buil’ and do it dah way yah, so, definitely Usher.”
In 2016, Kranium tweeted a photo of a studio session with the upcoming Super Bowl Halftime show act.
A collaboration is yet to be released.
Given name Kemar Donaldson, Kranium migrated from Montego Bay, St. James, to the United States when he was a teenager. His first musical mentor was his uncle and dancehall singer Screw Driver, one of several family members with musical talent. He later moved to New York, where he’d grow close to rapper Prodigy, one-half of the iconic hip-hop duo Mobb Deep.
“I was around Prodigy way before Nobody Haffi Know,” Kranium shared. “Mi and the man a par – mi a talk bout (age) 14, 15. If dem war, we war. Whoever dem beef, we beef with…”
Kranium further revealed that the rapper introduced him to Grammy-winning deejay Shaggy.
Prodigy had long battled with sickle cell anemia, and died from accidental choking in 2017 while undergoing treatment at a hospital for the disease. He was 42 years old.
There were other honorable mentions of artists who’ve helped Kranium along the way, with Wayne Marshall crediting Serani for putting him onto Kranium’s music.
“Big up Serani fi real,” Kranium injected. “That was 2012 or 2011. Mi a likkle youth, mi a hide a go a party underaged…and mi and mi brethren Tyson – who introduced me to Serani – used to go up and down pon the road, so, big up Serani, most definitely.”
Kranium’s latest song is Vibes Weekend, a three-minute ghetto love story by his own admission, but also his blueprint on how to experience dancehall culture. The 300K-directed visuals see the hitmaker kicking it with his crew including producer CJ The Chemist, for a day into-night rave of partying, ends-hopping and sexy innuendos.
Check it out below.