Mixing Passions While Building Up Metro Vancouver’s Hip Hop Culture
What do you get when you mix a love for music, a natural capability to interview, and a desire to inspire youth to accomplish the impossible? Meet nineteen-year-old Surrey-citizen and 2nd year SFU Communications student, Arshan Jawaid, Founder of Kids Take Over (KTO).
Kids Take Over (KTO) is a youth-focused hip hop media outlet including anything from 1:1 interviews and Facetime chats, to behind the scenes short documentaries with some of the hip hop scene’s most finest up-and-coming and highly successful artists and producers. What started as a vision, has now become a reality – with a recent launch exceeding all expectations by reaching 1,000 YouTube subscribers and hitting approx. 40,000 views on it’s first video with only a few weeks! Currently housed on two platforms, YouTube and Instagram, KTO was brought to fruition with a focus on helping inspire “young people being able to achieve their dreams.”
“Since I’m achieving my dreams of interviewing artists through social media, KTO tries to inspire the youth to do the same, in whichever creative field they choose” says Founder, Arshan Jawaid. In addition to this, with a focus on a lot of up-and-coming, young artists being highlighted in the content, Jawaid hopes to inspire creatives to help build up the hip hop culture in the Metro Vancouver area.
Jawaid has been surrounded by music since childhood, and explains that “music tends to be with me everywhere I go.” It’s a hobby, but more than that – it’s a culture that he lives and breaths. And Jawaid indeed lives and breaths the industry he is trying to break into. Listing Travis Scott, Kid Cudi, Trippie Redd, and Lupe Fiasco as some of his favourite artists, he displays his diverse taste in the hip hop genre.
Alongside the passion for music, Jawaid has been very much interested in journalism since childhood. “I had always consumed a lot of radio, TV, and news content.” He admits that in high school, he didn’t exactly know what he wanted to pursue academically beyond his grade 12 year, so he chose to start a podcast where he would interview locals with a multitude of different career paths so that he could gain a broader understanding of the breadth of possibilities available to him.
Through these informational interviews, he realized that he actually enjoyed interviewing, and should try his wits at the field. “I dabbled around with podcasts, discussions, news videos, all on YouTube……initially, I wanted to be a journalist and work with video teams for the biggest hip hop outlets. Now that I was able to create my own outlet, I’m really inclined to make this my full career.”
After experimenting with podcasts, news, and discussion videos, Jawaid stumbled upon the opportunity to conduct some interviews with various hip hop artists, and he began to post one every month. At the time, he had not established any branding or art direction for his work, and he too had to face some challenges in securing interviews. “Although I was proud that I was able to secure these interviews as a teenager, I wanted them to have a deeper meaning and purpose.
I also wanted myself to be so known in the hip hop community, that artists would come to me for interviews, despite my age.” “I got cancelled on so many times and soon found out people weren’t taking me seriously.” Despite the challenges, Jawaid managed to secure an interview with one of Drake’s music producers, Murda Beatz, and create a Behind The Scenes concept which highlights some of his struggles, and how he overcame them. Following the interview with Murda Beatz, Jawaid took four months off from interviewing to spend some time to brainstorm and establish his brand while marketing his natural ability. A few months later, Kids Take Over was officially born.
With the intent to inspire other youth to find their craft and pursue their passions, Jawaid focuses a lot of his content on him asking artists about how they perfected their craft while being a teenager, “so for the kids to hear those stories, it gives them inspiration” says Jawaid. “There’s also a series called “Behind The Scenes” where I give a lot of tips to young people in the creative field. Eventually there will be series where other young people are on camera.”
So how does one nineteen-year-old arrange interviews with the hip hop scenes heavy hitters? “I arrange them by simply sending an email over to the managers. Getting a good response, or a response in general, has to do with if they like my work/vision or not” explains Jawaid. When watching Jawaid, he exuberates a maturity, craftsmanship, and sense of ease well beyond his nineteen years. “I don’t necessarily see myself as an interviewer. I’m so passionate about pop culture and music that I just genuinely enjoy talking about it, and can have a relaxed conversation with anyone for hours on or off camera.”
So, what’s to come for KTO? Well first things first, they have a special interactive website planned for the near future. Jawaid also hopes to expand the initiative onwards to providing workshops for young adults in local high schools. As for any spoiler alerts for upcoming interviews…”I wouldn’t like to give too much away” says Jawaid. But he does allude to some pretty cool collaborations to come with Canadian artist, Anders, in the near future.
Oh and incase you were wondering which are Jawaid’s top 3 favourite albums are? Take note to make sure you have “Rodeo” by Travis Scott, “Good Kid, M.A.D.D City” by Kendrick Lamar, and “The College Dropout” by Kanye West. Classics.