We start out with this video for “Out Getting Ribs” by King Krule (previous and sometimes still known as Zoo Kid). This video is how most people first encountered this now 18 yr old (Wikipedia incorrectly has him listed at 23) phenom. It took me a few listens to really truly understand how amazing this song was, but even on first listen his talent is UNDENIABLE. It’s quite possible this song with it’s 1.5 million views but still low key notoriety may be one of the best songs to be released in this current decade. Nonetheless even to those who are fans and somewhat in the loop he remains a bit of a mystery.
I first became cognizant of King Krule when Frank Ocean was across the pond doing continuing his tradition of giving great interviews to Zane Lowe earlier this year (I was late to the party I know) . Since then I have done my best to follow and now research everything I can find on this Transcendent talent that is Archie Marshall aka King Krule aka Zoo Kid aka Edgar the Beatmaker aka DJ JD Sports aka Kang Kruley.
So the first anything I could find is from September 2009 and features what seems to be Archie performing a song called “Broke” or “Broke pt 2”. The video is uploaded by user ZooKiduk and is titled “Broke pt 2 ft Connor Atanda”, it only has 691 views as of the time of this articles writing. I stumbled onto this video by googling “Connor Atanda” after seeing his name attached to a recent picture of Archie while out in New York City via what seems to be his website http://www.kingkrule.co.uk/.
PLEASE tell me if im wrong but I think I accidentally unearthed King Krule’s first appearance?
After watching the video I looked into this song “Broke”, I found a few different posts of the same song all posted roughly around the same time (May 2011).
this version is much more dance/synthy, and frankly I dont like it nearly as much as the raw version from 2009. Through reading and searching I found a different “accoustic” version of the song “Broke” from october 2009 as part of something called “Diesel Planet” via Chris Coco. It seems to be some kind of radio station or something highlighting an up and coming talent, in this case Zoo Kid. If im not mistaken this is what would have previously been considered the first public appearance of Archie (this one has north of 50k views).
As DJ JD Sports, a more DJ/Hip Hop based persona , Archie released tracks (what he actually did in the creating of these track is uncertain) via his MySpace as early as 2009, and as recently as March 2013 via his soundcloud
In January 2010 via his Zoo Kid Bandcamp page he released the song “Greyscale”
Over the course of the next 6 months (January – July 2010) he released a total of 7 songs, each with their own artwork and description, culminating with the afformentioned “Out Getting Ribs”. According to the description on the song page
“Outro to the L.P, the last of eight tracks however not the last to be recorded. The guitar was inspired by a close friend Jerk Curb, but only in the tuning. The riffs and melodies have all been created to enhance ‘a cliff hanger ending’ throughout. The lyrics are very intellectual and so listeners who know me stand no chance in understanding them. An outsider however may be of some accurate interpretation. Archy K I Marshall.”
According to pitchfrok the song takes its title from a 1982 pencil on paper piece from Jean Michel Basquiat
This project eventually became known as U.F.O.W.A.V.E, whether that was the title before/during the release of the songs I am unsure.
It’s hard to tell what happened in between the July 2010 release of the song and the December 2010 release of the video for “Out Getting Ribs”, the Vinyl for this song as well as “Has This Hit” as a B side was also released sometime in 2010. Interesting that to this day the Vinyl seems to be the only way to actually purchase this song. Published shortly after the unofficial release of the two tracks this Fader post and Guardian article seem to be the first major mentions of this burgeoning young(16 at the time) talent.
Soon after the release of the video for “Ribs” people first started to take note of young Archy The God. In July 2011 he performed at the MIDI festival on the French Riviera under the name King Krule.
Then in September the New York Times published this entry about Arch, explaining that he now goes by the moniker of King Krule. They went on to post his King Krule Bancamp page, which actually has tracks from 2009 including one that seem to pre date even the Connor Atanda clip (how fitting that its a remix of a Radiohead song).It seems King Krule was not necessarily a new persona, but one that he decided should come more to the forefront. A February 2010 track is titled “alicia” and features a re working of Alicia Key’s song “Unthinkable”, interesting when you consider that James Blake gained a lot of popularity months later sampling Kelis and Aaliyah for his CMYK EP.
October 2011 Krule made the first stateside appearance at CMJ 2011
Pitchfork documented some time they spent with him leading up to the show in this interview, that gave some insight into this son of highly musical parents, Dad being a BBC TV art director and mom being a hip hop loving ex employee of Spike Lee. One other random but amazing gem:
In a cab on the way back to the venue after our interview, one of Marshall’s managers mentions that eccentric rapper Jay Electronica may be interested in adding a verse to his track “The Noose of Jah City”. If Marshall is excited about the proposition– or even aware of the Jay-Z approved Electronica– he doesn’t show it. He plays it cool. As usual.
. In Nov 2011 King Krule released the “The King Krule EP” (True Panther/Matador). The project received plenty of deserved further acclaim, highlighting alot of the same elements that had first caught peoples attention on his earlier releases.
In January of 2012 he returned to America to participate in a series of what seem to be his first real first stateside appearances, including this performance at Terminal 5 in NYC
Fader also did a video interview with him around the same time.
Later that year (August/September 2012) he released the songs “Rock Bottom” and “Octopus”. The video for “Rock Bottom” came out. Then in early 2013 in conjunction with Vice media’s Noisey channel he released a video for “Octopus”
Over the past year or so random Tumblr images have poped up linking Archie to Miami avant guarde rap clique Metro Zu then in March 2013 this song appeared I’m pretty sure it’s produced by Metro Zu’z Freebase aka Mr. PX$H6XD (Posh God) and seems to feature Archie, this time known as Kang Kruley getting his rapper/singer vibe on.
Additionally tracks by Edgar the Beatmaker (another Archie alias rooted mostly in semi vintage semi new age hip hop Production ) also appeared this year.
In April of 2013 he did an interview confirming specific intentions to relase his album Six Feet Beneath The Moon in August 2013. In addition to clearing up where his name actually comes from he also took time to praise what is one of his biggest influences and inspirations in J.Dilla
In may he performed at a festival in Greece and premiered what seems to be a new song titled “Crocodile”
Also in May London based group Mount Kimbie released their song “You took your time” prominently featuring Krule
So thats where we are, In learning and researching about Archie I have become that much more of a fan. I can’t help but wonder if all the different personas are just separation for the sake of being unique, possibly an homage to some of those before him with multiple namesakes (Doom?), or maybe this kid just realizes that releasing THIS MUCH genius level material, in so many different veins ,might be almsot too much for others to fathom and comprehend?