- 01:00 PM, Mar 25
Born Brian Todd Collins on April 1, 1986 in Los Angeles, California, Kid Ink got his moniker from his love of tattoo. He lives up to his nickname with tattoos from head-to-toe. Not only was he instantly recognized for his tat-covered body but he was also set apart from many other rap stars for his distinctive rapping skills.
His talent was nurtured since he was working behind the control board as a producer. He worked with the likes of Sean "P. Diddy" Combs and Sean Kingston. "I started making the beats because I already had several artists trying the rap thing out, so I thought I would be more useful supplying the production," he said.
"Producing was a great stepping stone for me," he explained. "I built relationships, and I learned a lot of things that help me now as an artist. As far as getting behind the mic goes, I had so many records lying around, and I just went for it. Now, I look at my songs how a producer would. The potential is unlimited."
He made a breakout as a rapper in 2010. He started gaining popularity with his first mixtape "World Tour" which he recorded under the stage name Rockstar. He changed his nickname into Kid Ink in 2011 and marked it with the release of another street album "Crash Landing". A third and fourth mixtapes followed before his first indie album eventually came out.
"Up & Away" was released in 2012 and received a moderate success. In an effort to promote the album, Ink toured the U.S., selling out shows throughout the country including 6 Summer Jam concerts. He also headlined a tour across the Pond that included 25 shows in 35 days in the United Kingdom. As his fans base grew, he found himself at the center of a bidding war among all major labels.
"I want to reach as many people as possible, while staying true to myself," he said. "This isn't downer music. I'm always going to make energetic songs. I want you to feel upbeat. I want you to feel that energy. I want it to come across in the whole vision too. This isn't about one record. It's about a career."
He eventually decided to sign a major label deal with RCA Records in 2012. His first major-label release was a mini album called "Almost Home" released in May