Kalan.FrFr is finally living like a ‘Popstar’, and he’s put in the work to get here. In his early years he was a talented defensive back on San Diego State’s D1 football team, but his skills would take him a lot further than the field, with Kalan.FrFr becoming one of the leading artists embodying the new LA sound, A genre of music that changes every few years, he is sure to be around for a long time, continuing to push musical boundaries while creating timeless music. VIPER hopped on a call with Kalan.FrFr to discuss living like a ‘Popstar’, the new LA sound, tour life and more…
Where did the “Frfr” part of your name come from?
It came from my DJ, DJ Bar One. “Yeah for real for real” was something we used to be saying to each other. I was looking for a name that would become my rap name [and] I was like, “Man, I’m going to just be Kalan,” He was like, “for real for real?” We was like, “yeah Kalan.frfr.”
When was this?
I think 2016.
Do you claim Compton or Carson more?
It’s even. I grew up in Carson, my mom lives in Carson. My dad lived in Compton, I went to school and lived in Compton like back and forth. It’s only five minutes away from each other. People be trying to make it seem like it’s such a huge difference. It’s a difference though definitely, but everybody know me in both.
Before you started a music career you were playing football pretty seriously. What made you switch over to music?
I ended up getting in trouble and I couldn’t play football no more. I had one more year left to play and I ended up not being able to play. So once that kind of hung up, I was like, “I’m going to focus on music”. I actually gave myself one year to try to focus on music and just give 100% of my effort to music, see what happens and try to make some type of progress.
Were you making music when you were doing football?
Yeah, I had been making music the whole time. I started making music really in high school and just having fun with it but I don’t think I took it seriously until 2017; That’s when it really clicked.
What did your music sound like back then?
Oh man, so I started off making R&B shit, the first song I ever made in high school was R&B shit, but I was horrible. I didn’t know how to use auto-tune or nothing like that, it was horrible. It was just corny as a motherfucker.
You’ve got to start somewhere.
Pretty much after that I just made what was popular. I made the popular sounding music from our area, like L.A. music. Then I was at school in San Diego, I was around all different type of people so I was listening to everything. I got real infatuated with the South sound, like Migos, [Young] Thug, all that shit, that shit is hard but I’ve always listened to artists like that. I started doing beats like that and I got caught on that Trap wave. Then I started trying to make shit that was popular whatever it was, the most popular music at the moment, I was making that until like early 2018. That’s when I really was like, “Man I’m gonna just go in and do what I feel” because I wanted to make singing music. “Man, I’m going to start singing on shit that I like.” So I just started making music I liked, some shit I’m into and just try to do better at it; That was the best thing ever for me.
You’re getting better and you’re definitely solidifying yourself more and more.
Man I appreciate that for real. That’s the goal, man, I’m just trying to get better with every song. Make sure every song [I] do [is] better than the last.
You just got off tour and now you’re about to go do this new tour next month. What’s your favourite thing about performing?
The crowd reaction. Man, they be there, they know the songs, they’re singing along with you. That’s just a whole different experience within itself because the music means so much to me. Just to to have them embrace my thoughts and my mind and my heart and feel it to the point where they’re singing it back to me, that shit is crazy. Having been on the other side of that, now to be on this side of it; it’s just dope.
Your track ‘Popstar’ was produced by with Bankroll Got It and Diego who you’ve worked with in the past.
Yeah, Bankroll and Diego, we’ve done a ton of stuff together: ‘Scoring’, ‘Tidal Wave’, ‘Get In’, now ‘Popstar’. Then I got unreleased songs with them.
What was the process like for ‘Popstar’?
Usually with Bankroll Got It we would just be in the studio talking, them dudes think the world of me. They believe in me damn near more than I believe in myself sometimes, they be in there like, “Bro you’re going to be the biggest ever like watch you’re going to blow up.” I just be like, “I hope so.” We were talking about blowing up, that’s probably how it came up. Sometimes I be feeling myself and that’s just what it turned into, you know?
Do you feel like you’ve been living like a ‘Popstar’?
Yeah, lately it’s been a turn around just from going on tour and coming back and just moving around, having stuff to do. Life’s great, I have no complaints. There’s a million bad things to worry about but why? The good always outweighs the bad. You just got to live in the moment, it might not last forever.
What does being a ‘Popstar’ mean?
You just got to wake up and pop it on the daily. Like whatever you do, if you’re doing it at the best ability, you having fun, looking good doing it, you’re a ‘Popstar’. You’re a staple in your community, people look up to you, you’re a ‘Popstar’. You don’t got to be a rapper to be a ‘Popstar’, you can be anything. Anybody could be on their ‘Popstar’ shit no matter if you got one dollar or two.
It’s all about the attitude.
It’s all about attitude, that’s half the battle.
Do you prefer going to go into clubs and having big club nights, or are you a house party type of guy?
I like both. Because the house party a vibe you feel me? I would want to go to both the same night; the club a vibe too.
Have you been doing club performances and stuff as well?
Yeah, I’ve been booked up. I’ve been doing something like two or three times a week.
Besides this tour do you plan on doing any festivals as well?
Yeah, I’m planning on going on tour again this year, probably towards the end of the year, but I know I’m doing festivals. I’m going to take it to a whole other level as far as stage production and stuff like that, I’m just having fun with it now. I’m getting to open up some more, it’s going to be dope.
Have you been performing with a live band or what’s your live setup like these days?
I haven’t performed a show with a live band, but I rehearse with a live band a lot. The ‘Never Lose You’ thing I got on my page for the anniversary, I’ll do that with them just for fun. That’s something I enjoy doing, it’s a good time for me but as far as production and like stage production, from props to where I’m coming out and everything, lighting, and just the whole nine… there’s more room for it to be better. More LEDs, everything, I’m going to have a lot more fun with it this time around.
For your music production, do you ever produce any songs with a live band in the studio?
I’ve been working with a lot of producers but I’ve had beats cooked up from scratch, like fresh, everybody in there playing an instrument stuff like that. I’m learning, I’m getting deeper into the music.
Who are some artists from the West Coast that you’ve been fucking with lately?
Oh shit everybody, everybody that fuck with me.
You seem to have a pretty close relationship with Blxst as well. How did that relationship come to be?
Oh man, Blxst produced ‘Right Wit It’.
Is that how you guys first met?
We’ve been knowing each other, Blxst produced probably one of my first songs ever. Just from knowing each other from around the city, being around L.A., doing music like this. I’ve been on Blxst since I was in high school, I’ve been on Bino Rideaux for a long time too. Me and Bino been locked in, they’re all the homies.
Whenever you link up, you make some really great music together. You guys have really great musical chemistry together. You brought him out on your tour, did he bring you out on his tour as well?
Yup and we’re going to do that wherever we go. We just did a show together, we performed back and forth at the same time.
What’s your favorite environment to be in when you’re recording? Do you have a certain vibe you like to get yourself in?
Nah, I just need everybody to be cool. Can’t be a bunch of shit going on, just got to be a vibe. I make music based off feelings and what’s going on. I don’t go in like, “Oh I’m going to make a song about this or make a song about that.” Whatever I’m going through that day, if I’m having a bad day, I’m going to make a song about having a bad day. I’m going to talk about what’s on my mind, what’s going on. If I’m having a great day, I’m going to make a song about having a great day. So it’s just pretty much the vibe, don’t come throw the vibe off. I’ll be trying to make a sad song, but then one of the homies will cheer me up, so then I’m over it. Now I’ve got to start over, do something else, can’t talk about it no more, I ain’t mad no more. I’m not going to fake it, you know?
‘Popstar’ is the first coming single off this EP that you have coming up. Is there anything you can tell us about the EP, the name, anything we can expect from it?
I don’t got the name but it’s going to be great, it’s some of my favourite work. All of my work is my favourite work, but I really like these songs. I just hope other people like them too, I just hope people like it as much as I fuck with it because I really fuck with all of the songs.
How do you go about choosing your setlist when you perform?
Depending on where I’m performing, what I’m performing, how I’m feeling that day, what I think the fans are going to fuck with. Like what songs the people in this area likes, because it differs each place, some people like certain songs. I try to start off lit and then roll you all the way through it, I want to keep you on your feet the whole time. Even if I got to slow it down, I want you still on your toes. Have them sing along, whatever they going to sing to; I like that. As long as I can sing, we could all sing, y’all know the words; I just want to play people’s favourite stuff.
What was the vibe when you were working on your album ‘TwoFr 2’? Did you link up with Lil Durk, Mozzy and Stunna 4 Vegas and all of them?
It was a little bit of everything, we sent Stunna the verse. Durk was on tour when he did the verse, so I didn’t have time to see him when he did it but I seen him right after. I wasn’t with Mozzy when he recorded the verse, but I pulled up on him to listen to it. He like, “Man, come pull up on me, come listen to this real quick. Where you at?” I’ll pulled up right there, I stopped everything I was doing, then we did like five more songs. I’ll be at his studio just recording, I’ll just knock songs out. ‘Never Lose You’ was made at their studio. That was supposed to be a me and Mozzy song, but bro was like, “that’s way too personal, bro. That’s your song, gang.”
Where did you write the rest of it?
In the house, I didn’t write it, though; I freestyle every song, I punch in every song. However I’m feeling, it’s got to be in the moment. A lot of that I did in my house, I was just in the house; wake up, record, have engineers come to the house, different producers comes to the house, cook up sessions. We did it at all in Palos Verdes.
Do you have a studio in your crib?
Yeah always, I’m packing right now, I’m finna move as we speak. Today I’m moving, I’d show you but it’s all packed up.
How does it feel to be signed to Roc Nation? That’s no small feat. How does it feel to share the label with such legendary artists such as yourself?
It’s dope, it just makes me want to do so much more. I’m from the West Coast so it’s different. The people behind me all from New York, all from the East Coast and out that way. Y’all embraced me, made me feel comfortable. So it’s dope. I can’t explain it. You get the best of both worlds. Like come on I grew up watching Jay-Z and see all of this stuff happen, Dipset, all that. The history and culture that comes with it. It’s dope. It’s a blessing. The first on the West Coast to do it. I’m signed to the Roc so I’m going to go crazy.
What else do you have in store for 2022? You got the tour coming up, you got some festivals, you got another project. What are you looking forward to this year?
Oh man, just more everything. I want to have my hands in everything, man. I just want people to love the music. I want to shoot bigger videos and keep growing. I want to continue to grow with my fan base, my fan base to grow, and just give the people that support me what they want.
What would you call your fan base?
I don’t know. I’m gonna think of that. They like the realest people ever. Because you’ve got to be real to relate.
Interview by Calvin Schneider