Right about the time Allan Kingdom was on the phone talking about his plans for this week's South by Southwest Music Conference on Tuesday afternoon, his new mentor and greatest ally Kanye West tweeted a link to his new music video with this message:
@kanyewest: I decided to make it the first official video featuring Theophilus Allan Kingdom and Paul McCartney http://t.co/jD2BnEzN5Z
"It's been a crazy experience," Kingdom said of his whirlwind ride on West's coattails, which followed his breakout year locally in 2014. The St. Paul-bred rapper, who turned 21 at the start of the new year, made a surprise visit to the Brit Awards in London last month with West -- a surprise to everyone except his closest confidants, that is. There, he made a prominent two-part guest appearance alongside Kanye during the Chicago rapper's new single, "All Day," which is one of several of his that also features Sir Paul on keyboards and occasional backup vocals. The track soon broke big across the webosphere, with Allan's vocals and name attached.
"That was hard," Kingdom, aka Allan Kyariga, said of keeping his West collaboration a secret. Now, though, he's free to shed more light in the collaboration -- or, rather, collaborations.
"I did some more material with him, but I really don't know if it will make the album or show up somewhere else," he said.
Kingdom came to West's attention via Allan's manager, Kid Cudi cohort Plain Pat, who is pals with one of West's chief right-hand men, Virgil Abloh. "[Kanye] heard my stuff and thought I might be interesting to work with, and that was about it," Kingdom explained.
Their collaborations in the studio have been invaluable learning experiences, he said: "I watch and try to soak up the creativity of everybody I work with making music, but with him it's obviously a little more intense."
Asked whether West has been schooling his young apprentice, Kingdom responded with a reverential quip: "He pretty much gives advice all day, as you might imagine."
Kingdom has four gigs planned Friday and Saturday at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, including the Minnesota-heavy Midwest Showcase at Holy Mountain on Friday afternoon. But what could be his biggest SXSW gig has yet to be confirmed: The rumor mill heavily points to West playing a surprise set Saturday night at Stubb's. If that happens, Kingdom said, "I think there's a pretty good chance I'll be asked [to perform]."