Hailing from New Mexico, LA based producer King Henry is set to rule 2015. A member of the beat collective TeamSupreme, along with recent breakout stars Djemba Djemba and Mr. Carmack, Henry’s productions reflect the quick-thinking and precise instrumentation of the crew. Henry graduated from Chapman University with TeamSupreme founder Preston Walker. As the legend has it, “Over 100 weeks ago on a balmy So Cal evening, Alpha Pup artists Preston Walker (of Virtual Boy) and Great Dane (newly signed) challenged each other to a game: produce a one-minute beat in one hour, using a set BPM and sample from the Notorious B.I.G. Sixty minutes later two new tracks were created, and TeamSupreme was born. Combining playtime and practice, the idea of TeamSupreme soon spread across the flat, freeway-laden land of LA, with producers clamoring to get in on the action and be a part of the exciting beat experiment. Uniting artists from not only LA but also New York, Colorado and Hawaii, TeamSupreme evolved organically into a weekly beat challenge. Every Monday one of the participating artists picks a BPM and two samples, one transition sound and one remix. With the original time constraints relaxed, the producers must then create a one-minute track in one week, the results of which are merged into a weekly podcast and played out in a monthly event.”
You might not know that King Henry’s worked with many of your favorite artists. He worked on Angel Haze’s track “White Lilies/White Lies” this year, and collaborated with TS homies Great Dane and Mr. Carmack. Additionally, his project LION KNGS with fellow TeamSupreme bud Tk Kayembe is taking off – after their release of their first EP, they put down a mix for BBC 1Xtra, and their recent remix of Trey Songz’ “Na Na” is currently sitting at nearly 70,000 plays.
Henry’s got some exciting projects ahead of him as well – along with an impending release of his collab with Aussie DJ Allison Wonderland, he’s co-produced a track for pop superstar Rita Ora. His comprehensive background in music theory is evident in his tracks; flawlessly executed, they combine robust bass with faded synths and intriguing samples, while playing with quirky tempos and dissonance as well. His 2013 release XI was a compilation of beats, melodies, and remixes for his fans. In “Koomba,” Henry builds a thumping, glitchy beat laced with flute trills and a mariachi band sample. His most recognized track, “I Smoke, I Drink,” is a juke-inspired late night jam, perfect for those post club afterparty vibes. King Henry’s also flipped up one of 2014’s most recognizable tracks, “Talk Dirty,” with the help of Mr. Carmack. Even though I’ve heard Jason Derulo’s hit about 97 billion times, I couldn’t resist how skeletal and warped the sax riff was in their reimagining.
I’ve been listening to King Henry for a little over a year now, and it astounds me that he’s not a household name yet. He has the rare combination of phenomenal, game-changing talent and a humble charm that makes you want to rep his greatness even more. I’m calling it – King Henry is the one to watch in the next year. It’s his time to shine.
Words: Staley Sharples