Arshan Jawaid is a name that might not be familiar to you, but a face you would recognize with ease. At only 22 years old, he runs one of quickest growing platforms in all of music: Kids Take Over. We tapped in with Arshan so we could learn more about his background, and delve deeper into his ever-growing legacy.
Arshan Jawaid was born in Surrey, a city located in British Columbia, Canada. From the start, he had his sights set on interviewing some of top talent in the industry. Inspired by the music of artists such as Lupe Fiasco, Drake, Akon, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West, Arshan hoped to one day be able to create content with these artists for platforms such as Vice and Complex.
“I started off interviewing random people like my history teacher, then eventually would hustle through the internet to secure rapper interviews. I got declined a lot, but you know, I got a solid 10 interviews, so I could use that as my portfolio to get a meeting at a place like Complex. I woulda swept the floors… anything. Just to get an in.”
Although he was working overtime, the companies that Arshan was applying to kept sleeping on him. He knew that if he wanted something done, he’d just have to do it himself.
“I noticed nobody would want to meet with me despite my resume, so I said you know what… why don’t I go start my own media company, employ myself as the host, and make content in the hopes of inspiring other young creators to take their career into their own hands. At the time, the major players in hip hop were getting younger too, so I called my company Kids Take Over. It all just made sense.”
In January of 2019, Kids Take Over was born.
The Early Stages:
Obviously building a company from the ground up is no easy task. Arshan had his fair share of struggles while building the foundation for KTO. A lot of the bigger names in the industry would pay him no mind, and he had to push to get his content out.
“Man I hated getting declined. Not even just that though because at least when you get declined you have finite answer. The worst is when I’d have to wait 8+ hours on the set of an interview shoot, and then the artist just doesn’t show up. I think when you’re coming up and have zero numbers behind you, it’s hard to gain respect. It’s definitely different now after the success, but trust me, it still happens to everyone, even Akademiks I bet you.”
Other than interviews, KTO also served as a news outlet for everything going on in hip-hop. Some of Arshan‘s earlier videos consisted of him sitting in-front of a camera and updating his viewers on the latest happenings in the industry.
“People don’t know, but I used to make news type videos where I would just rant about random things going on in music. I remember I made a video about Baka Not Nice getting signed to OVO, and that shit got like 5k views I was so hyped.”
With hard work, dedication, and a consistent stream of engaging content, Arshan was able to grown the brand into what we have today: a hip hop media outlet focused on showing youth the potential they have to reach their dreams through the internet.
Kids Take Over in 2022:
KTO in 2022 is extremely different from what it used to be in 2019. For starters, Arshan now has a core team that he works with on a day-to-day basis to create, upload, and market all of their content. Each team member tackles a different part of the puzzle. The process behind these interviews is easier said than done, but the KTO team always makes it happen.
“In the past, I would take any interview I could get… now, i’m really selective and only do things that I like. Usually either a label person will reach out to me or i’ll hit them about certain artists I want to do content with. There’s a lot of prep and research that goes into everything. Sometimes I have my team help with the research. Noah helps with that, sometimes Vivek. In terms of filming and editing, my brothers & I actually worked together at the start to figure out our style, and we’ve made templates for everything, so if we ever get a new filmer or editor, they know exactly how to work to fit our brand guidelines. My filmers change here and there but I got Mikky shooting & editing my videos now, with help from Koko as well. I will say though, every second of the interview has to be overlooked by me after the edit. I’ll usually spend 3 days just fixing little things in the edit before it comes out.”
The community that KTO has garnered is also bigger than it has ever been, and continues to grow daily. From livestreams to Discord servers, Arshan makes sure that he interacts with everyone that’s supporting his brand on a daily basis.
“I love our community. I can’t count the amount of times people have told me they became friends cause of KTO. Everyone can relate to our videos and learn something from it. Shoutout to our Discord too, we have over 3k members.”
KTO would be nothing without the fans, and Arshan is eager to keep feeding his hungry supporters. I mentioned earlier that KTO continues to grow everyday, and while that is true for the brand’s fanbase, it is also true for the brand’s upcoming content and projects.
What The Future Holds:
The future looks bright for the KTO gang. They’ve just locked in a partnership with SoundCloud, and I’m really excited for some of the content that these two giant platforms will push out together. Arshan laced me up with some of the future projects they’re working on, but I wouldn’t wanna spoil the surprise for you guys.
“There’s going to be new shows, new hosts, more clothes, more cool brand partnerships, and even cooler events. Not your average events either. I have experiences that I’ve always dreamed of that I want to bring to the people. It’s all coming, but one thing i want people to understand is that we do everything in a calculated and tasteful manner. That means I can’t rush anything. 30% of KTO is the stuff you guys see rn, the other 70% is work behind the scenes to fuel future projects.”
Obviously KTO will continue with the interviews that they’re so well known for, but some of the future guests Arshan wants to bring on might surprise you. Of course he wants to keep interviewing artists, but he also wants to delve into the world of sports.
“I really want to interview ASAP Rocky, Drake of course, Nav… but also NBA players. We’re about to create a whole new lane of interviewing the new generation of NBA players, except with our own twist. For example, we interviewed Jaren Jackson Jr. from the Grizzlies. He gets asked about his jump shot and field goal percentage after every game, but we wanted to do something new. Instead, I asked him about Carti, his music, you know? I want to bridge the two worlds together.”
Arshan made sure to tell me that his work is far from done. He has so many plans and ideas for the future of KTO, and we’ll all be able to see them soon.
“The end goal of KTO is to just bring my dreams to life, and inspire young people in the process. I used to care about being the best, but I now realize that I don’t care. Life is about having fun and being happy. Just do what you love, become great at it, and you’ll be happy.”
I gotta give a huge shoutout to Arshan for taking the time to sit down and have this conversation with me. Even bigger shoutout to Noah Safian for connecting us and making this happen. If you didn’t know, Noah is one of the many legends who help run KTO behind-the-scenes. I’m linking the KTO Youtube channel right here so you can go show them some love, and as always, stay tapped in with Chiefers for the latest and greatest in everything hip-hop!