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Kid Ink

Kid Ink's mixtape hustle, ear for the underground and mainstream, and close connection to a growing fanbase helped him achieve a number 20 hit with his independent debut album, Up & Away (2012). Primed for even greater success, the rapper and producer then teamed with major-label RCA for My Own Lane (2014) and Full Speed (2015), higher-charting efforts that showcased his emotive pop-rap with the Top 20 pop hit "Show Me" and three additional platinum singles between them. Since breaking from RCA, he has remained prolific as an indie artist with a busy release schedule of singles and Alive (2021), his fourth studio album. Born Brian Todd Collins in L.A., Kid Ink rose steadily by releasing four mixtapes during 2010 and 2011. (The first one, World Tour, was credited to his original stage name of Rockstar.) XXL magazine listed him beside the likes of Danny Brown and Macklemore in its Freshman Class feature for 2012. That June, Kid Ink released Up & Away, his first proper studio album, through Tha Alumni. Although the set featured input from numerous producers including Ned Cameron, Jahlil Beats, and Cardiak, there were no guest verses, and therefore no disruptions in Kid Ink's nonchalant flow. Up & Away peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and reached number three on the R&B/hip-hop chart. After another tape, Kid Ink signed with RCA, made his major-label debut with the Almost Home EP -- a number 27 entry on the Billboard 200 -- and in January 2014 released his number three hit second album, My Own Lane. It contained two hit singles featuring Chris Brown. First was "Show Me," Kid Ink's biggest single, a number 13 pop hit that quickly went triple platinum. "Main Chick" didn't trouble the Top 40 but achieved platinum status. Moving fast, the first single off Ink's next album was out only a few more months later; "Body Language," a collaboration with Usher and Tinashe, likewise went platinum and built anticipation for the February 2015 arrival of Full Speed. Ink's third album landed at number 14 and produced another platinum hit with "Be Real," on which the rapper was joined by DeJ Loaf. The commercial mixtape Summer in the Winter, produced by DJ Mustard, was offered just before the end of the year, during which Ink also scored a multi-platinum hit as a featured artist on Fifth Harmony's "Worth It." Kid Ink remained on RCA in 2019, issuing the 2016 tape RSS2, two more EPs, and a slew of nonalbum singles before he became an independent artist again. He steadily released singles until April 2021 when Alive landed as his fourth studio full-length. All the while, he was also heard as a featured artist on tracks by artists such as Dizzy Wright, Philthy Rich, and EDM producer Tungevaag.
© Andy Kellman /TiVo
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