Kranium calls it a three-minute ghetto love story, but Vibes Weekend is also his blueprint to experiencing the vibrance and spontaneity of Dancehall culture.
Released in May, the track marries melody and storytelling in a ceremony that sees an uptown belle finally having a weekend flex with her longtime rude boy crush, and they aren’t holding back. Producer CJ The Chemist co-concocted the chill, laidback feels of the record, which has surpassed a million streams on Spotify.
“It (the feedback) feels good,” Kranium told DancehallMag. “We haven’t fully touched radio yet. I don’t think we’ve 100 percent put our foot in yet cause I always teaspoon the records – I don’t force it down on people… I watch how the reactions go and then we take it and see what market ketch it first, and then we start flood that side of the market. I’ve learnt that music has its market; not everything is gonna hit at the same time in certain place.”
It’s a pretty strategic move for someone whose creative process is less tactical. Authentic to his art, the singer will steer clear of the studio if he “doesn’t feel it”, or pop in when the world is sleeping if that’s when inspiration hits. In the case of Vibes Weekend, the US-based artist was en route to Queens from Brooklyn when he randomly phoned CJ The Chemist to say he was stopping by.
“I got to the studio and I tell him to play me a beat and that’s the first beat he played, and then I just went in the booth and create music,” he shared. “It never too planned or anything…it was just more like a vibe.”
A vibe that oozes summer song at the drop of the catchy hook:
Weh yuh thinking? What yuh drinking then?
We a go a Sandz fi the whole weekend
Vibes whole night, a forget problem
Whole team out and a stunt pon them…
But Kranium isn’t preoccupied with “summer song” labels, and just wanted to capture the essence of Dancehall life.
“It was more like the events that I was seeing being promoted, and I feel like these parties are a part of the culture now… I felt like while I was creating this song, if mi meet a girl that doesn’t have no clue on our culture or what dancehall is all about, it’s like, ‘this is weh mi a bring yuh’ or ‘this is weh mi a try show yuh’, and there’s a lot of girls that live uptown who just turned 23/24 now, ready fi come a road come party, like let’s go to where the vibes is at, and that’s how that whole creation came about.”
Beyond the party vibes, the lyrics (which flowed while listening to the riddim, a.k.a, no pen to paper), are laced with ear-perking bars that speak to Kranium’s Casanova appeal. For instance, “Me never have condom, mi f–k it raw and done,” as imaginatively-popping as washing his genitals in the sink on Gal Policy.
“I feel like I came out in the music game not really caring what people think,” he said. “I feel I’ve always created that space where I say weh mi waan seh, however mi waan seh it.”
His approach has helped him sculpt an international catalog, moving more than 500,000 units and, in other cases, a million units across the US, Canada, and the UK for songs like Nobody Has to Know, We Can (featuring Tory Lanez) and Can’t Believe (featuring Ty Dolla $ign and WizKid).
Still, he describes his records as creepers, and regards Vibes Weekend the same.
“I feel like every song I’ve ever had, the story never changes,” he said. “The record always takes like a two-year, some take six months, some take seven months, and it’s because of the way I work records. Mostly, it catches in The States, then it spreads across, then it goes to the core, especially when I’m not doing juggling… Ninety per cent of my catalogue is all singles.”
“Music takes a time to get to everybody’s ears because your fans dem like it, but now the fans dem that like you who have fans who’s not necessarily a Kranium fan, have to hear it, so, dem start play it inna dem car and dem hear it and go, ‘Oh, I like this song’. Then they start listen to the song and then it start slowly spread until one day you just wake up and the song is here, so that’s just my thing. It’s always a very slow pace, but one thing bout my song dem, once dem ketch, dem hot, dem nuh dead, so, it’s worth it.”
He’s taking his timeless repertoire on his annual summer-end to mid-spring tour, starting with Labour Day weekend next month before jetting off to Europe and Australia.