MUSIC

Pre Kai Ro Is Ready to Take Over the World

The singer sat down with Popdust to talk about his new single, his relentless work ethic, and his plans for world domination

Born in Oman to Egyptian parents, Pre Kai Ro's complex music sensibilities can partially be attributed to his international upbringing.

pre kai ro - "el camino" prod. by olsem (Official Video) | kashkam www.youtube.com

During his childhood, he lived in Oman, Egypt, Ireland, UK, and Dubai, and was exposed to vastly different music as a result. "My environment was always split in the sense that inside the house, I was being exposed to purely African and Middle Eastern music," said the budding R&B singer. "[But] I was simultaneously becoming obsessed with Hip-Hop, R&B and Rock." Pre Kai Ro's production has always been dark and 808 heavy, but his voice is light and inviting, bouncing along effortlessly as he frankly discusses heartbreak, and his relentless grind for stardom. Popdust caught up with the singer to discuss his new single, "Baby Boy," and his plans for the future.

How did you find your sound?

When I was 10 I won a school talent show while living in Dublin after performing a rendition of "21 Questions" by 50 Cent. My mother was impressed but horrified. From then on, it was kind of a constant development of my sound and identity in music. It wasn't until 2016 while attending university in Nottingham, England when I [got serious]. I had spent years posting acoustic covers online, and already developed my sound [as a result.]

Did anyone, in particular, inspire you to get into music?

My biggest inspirations to this day are (in no specific order) Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Bon Iver, The Weeknd, and Future. I want to emulate their work and pay homage.

You've released a good deal of projects and have been grinding steady for a while now. What have you noticed change about your sound and creative process over the years?

For my first project, Mood with Olsem - an incredibly talented French man I consider my brother - we were at a point where the process was just extremely quick. He would send me a beat he just made and I would record in my room, usually with the first melodic and lyrical idea that came to mind. Tracks like "Queen of The New World" and "Need Me" would be finished in less than an hour. Our latest project, Vibe, was actually produced, written, recorded, mixed and mastered within 48 hours. Now that I'm focusing more on singles, the formula stays the same, but I'm trying to revisit certain songs to get them as "perfect" as they can be.

Was the process similar for "Baby Boy?"

I remember producer [Don Fuego] said he hadn't met an artist who could work as quickly as I did, so he gave me a challenge where he would nap for 30 minutes and expect a full ballad to be written by the time he woke up. I wrote about the turbulent artist life I'm living and how it seems to affect every form of relationship I have. "Baby Boy" is actually based on a culmination of messages I'd received from significant others about my absence as I continued to focus more on my career. Long story short, [everyone] felt "Baby Boy" had a certain magic about it.

What are your plans for the rest of the year? Tour? What can we expect from "King?"

My plans are to drop a single per month for the foreseeable future. I'm refusing to be limited by [everyone else's] expectations of me. I want to continue releasing the music that makes me and those around me feel something. If it doesn't move me, I refuse to let it move anybody else. I'm aiming for global domination, and that type of thing requires patience and careful planning.

Baby Boy

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.