Cynics will try to claim that the artists going viral on TikTok have no reason to be doing so – no business acumen, no long-term plan and no idea what they’re doing. But 19-year-old 24kGoldn (real name Golden Landis Von Jones) is a man with a plan. When his song Valentino blew up on TikTok recently, he took it by the horns and leant into the platform, punching out hilarious content every single day. Now he’s working with 2.1 million TikTok fans and over 30 million likes.
He’s the epitome of a smooth-talker – charismatic, has strong business-minded aspirations and knows his shit – and is impressively wise for his ripe 19 years on this planet. He’s part of the new charge of young self-starter rappers cropping up everywhere right now, poised with a can-do attitude, an effortless knack for social media and hip hop that’s not afraid to be genre-agnostic.
Hey Golden, what’s going on? Thanks so much for hooking up with us on Cool Accidents!
Yo, I'm fantastic. This is the coolest accident that has ever happened to me.
Really? The coolest accident? I love that, what are your other cool accidents?
Some other cool accidents - me being conceived. Valentino blowing up on TikTok. A lot of cool accidents have happened in my life. Not gonna lie.
I love that you’re spending your time in isolation just SMASHING your TikTok game! You literally do multiple a day sometimes, how do you get so many ideas for TikToks?
I mean, it's just like, going on the platform, you know, you see all the other cool creative stuff that people are doing. You're like, “Oh, I could do that.” I put my own little twist on it. But definitely inspired by a lot of the creators, plus at home, I don't know, the way my brain works, I'll just think of random funny videos and then boom, now we have a way to get those out easily.
Real talk though, you have so many TikToks on your page that it crashed my web browser when I was looking at them all, like it went black.
That's the overload. Yeah, I don't know if you're ready for all of them yet.
I haven’t done my first TikTok yet, what are your tips for someone to get started on TikTok? What was your first one?
I was just watching other people's videos, you know, the things that work on Instagram don't work on TikTok necessarily. But if something goes on TikTok, it'll go on Instagram. You have to like, understand that community and what appeals to them and what they find funny.
Anyway, love the stuff you’re putting out because it’s all really fun. I love The Gram, that one’s so catchy and City Of Angels is going off in Australia right now. Do you remember Gym Class Heroes? I got a real Cupid’s Chokehold vibe from City Of Angels with that jangly guitar.
Yo, I LOVE Gym Class Heroes. Damn, you just took me back to a memory I didn’t know I had! Yeah, I loved listening to them growing up, and that definitely has the same feeling. Great music though, I wonder what they're doing now. They're incredible.
Did you expect City Of Angels to be as big as it is?
Yeah, I knew that was a hit as soon as I stepped out the booth on that one, you know, same feeling as I had with Valentino, it’s just as one of those songs that’s special and different, and really evokes emotion. When I listened to that song and when I made that song, I felt like I was in a movie and like, I could just hear all the different scenes and scenarios that people could be playing it out. So I think this summer once we're finally out of the house, it's really gonna have a second leg.
Do you get that with every song and is it hard to put out music that you don't get that feeling with straight away?
There's definitely songs I make that I love and it might not be a hit and I still put it out. I have something to say or a certain emotion or a feeling or a scenario that I want people to think of or feel when they're listening to my music and a project that you're shuffling on Spotify or Apple Music, but when it's a hit, you just know. I don't want to make any music that I myself wouldn't enjoy listening to and I feel like the people feel that same way because the songs that I like the most the people like the most.
So you dropped outta college – which is what your album is called too – what were you studying and how long were you there?
So I was a business major and I was there for a whole year. I signed my record deal a couple days after I turned 18 and that was right around winter break. And I remember going back to school and I just didn't have that same motivation, you know, my heart was in music and entertaining. And I just kind of dropped all my classes except for one so I could still live on campus and eat all the food for free ‘cause I had a scholarship. But after that, like after I got signed my mind was in a completely different place. I definitely met a bunch of incredible people and learned some amazing things being at USC (University Of Southern California).
Did you ever do any shows on campus?
All the time! I did Gear Fest, which is like the Black Student Association of USC put that on so I performed right before YBN Nahmir. I did plenty of shows like Bandido, which is like the local college dive bar. Plenty of stuff like that. A talent show! I was trying to be as visible as possible on campus. I used to have these little stickers that I put around with my face on it. And it looked like like the ads that are on the side of porn websites. And they said, “this ugly son of a bitch is respecting super hot chicks. How? Just listen to my SoundCloud link” and that became like a little meme at school like, everywhere.
Are you finding it hard to write music in quarantine or are you finding it pretty easy to focus on getting a song done?
Even though I'm not going out and having these real life experiences that continue to inspire me, I was on tour with YBN Cordae for two months, and I didn't really get to record at all during that process. So I have so many stories and so much growth as a person that I'm able to pull from and and tell in my songs.
I'm so glad you mentioned Cordae, because we love him here at Cool Accidents. He's such a good dude and The Lost Boy was a dope album. What was that experience like being on the road with him?
It was a lot of fun. You know, we got to do a lot of bigger venues and see a different side of touring that I hadn't seen before. And one thing about Cordae that I particularly admire is his set was incredible, the way he performed the songs and the way he arranged his songs and was able to bring the energy up and down and control the crowd. I definitely learned a lot watching him.
I feel like he's wise beyond his years. Do you get that vibe from him?
Yeah, like he's like 22 or 23, only a couple years older than me. But we think in the same way, in the sense of… we're not very impulsive. You know, we're forward thinking people, we understand the consequences of our actions and how our words can affect people. That was another thing I admired about him.
You’re only 19 so you would’ve grown up with the peak of like 2000s emo and punk, do you have any rock influences that we wouldn’t suspect?
I remember watching movies like Meet The Fockers and there's this other one where it was about like this guy, and he had like six kids, seven kids or something like that, who raised them. I don't remember what the movie is called. But there was that Sum 41 song, In Too Deep. Growing up, I loved that song. I used to play this game, Lego Rock Band on my Nintendo DS and that's how I got put onto a lot of mid-2000s early-2000s rock, punk, that alternative emo sound that you hear in my music today.
That's what I figured as well, you can really hear the influence in your music and a lot of rappers nowadays are just so influenced by like, Fall Out Boy and Paramore, however distant the influence is, you can still hear it.
Yeah, what they were doing at that time was incredibly innovative and like, it's stuck around, you know, even if that style of music isn't the number one style of music right now. It's definitely making a resurgence and it definitely is like, embedded in my generation’s brain.
When did you started making music?
I started doing it for real sophomore year of high school. I had a mentor of mine Paypaboy that owned this sneaker boutique called Dream Team SF. And it was a couple blocks away from my house. And on my 13th birthday, I went there for the first time and like, we just started building this relationship of sneakers, you know, he would sell me sneakers for the low because we were the same size at the time. I would go to sneaker conventions and help him sell shoes. And we just became really, really good friends and he became like a big brother to me. And I remember one day he was just like, “yo, if you want to make some songs and get poppin in your school, I have a studio above the shop, we can do that.” And I was like, “alright, let's get it!”
Before I was popular in music, I was kind of popular locally in the in the sneaker community just because I was always at everything and I would sell these gold watches that I would get off of like AliExpress for $2. And I come to the sneaker convention and sell them for like $15-$20 bucks. So everyone knew me as a kid with the gold watches. And now they know me as the kid with the gold records! [laughs]
You're a hustler from way back dude! That's why you were studying business. It all makes sense now.
I've been hustling! To me, I feel like I would be successful at doing anything I put my mind to. It's just I love music so much so how can I not make that my main focus?
So you’ve got a song with Fetty Wap on your Dropped Outta College record called The Gram, who’s on the bucket list of collabs for you?
There's so many talented artists and like, I don't just listen to rap music. So everybody from Drake to Billie Eilish to Young Thug to Justin Bieber. I admire people that are good storytellers, that are good songwriters, have a great message or a unique style. There's so many artists I want to work with right now.
Music right now is so vibrant and different because people are collabing with artists from all different genres! You could collab with, you know, Kacey Musgraves in country music and it would be a sick song.
Yo, Kacey Musgraves is fire. I love her songwriting. That would be an incredible collab. Fingers crossed on that one!
Well, when can we expect you in Australia? As soon as we can travel again or are we gonna have to wait until another record from you comes out?
I've just been dying to get out there. So as soon as I can, you know, as soon as you guys will have me I would love to come out there.
We’re waiting to have anyone at this point! We just can't wait for international travel and tours again.
Yeah, I feel that.