Kawan Prather a.k.a. “KP The Great” has certainly assumed many roles throughout his legendary career in the entertainment industry.
He stands out as an A&R legend, esteemed executive, established producer, soundtrack curator, headlining DJ, and GRAMMY® Award-winning songwriter. However, this multi-talented visionary sums up his persona in the most appropriate (and super) of terms…
“I feel like Professor Charles Xavier,” he smiles "I see mutants and the greatness that they possess. I want to create an X-Men-type of school where I can help guide talented mutants to realizing their full potential and achieving massive success.”
For KP, that success came as the result of tireless work. Born and raised in Vine City, Atlanta, he can recall spinning records in his early teens during family gatherings and as his mom got ready to go out. He took his DJ-ing out of the house and went professional forming the group Parental Advisory with members Big Reese and Mello.
In high school, he simultaneously linked up with the burgeoning Dungeon Family and learned how to properly produce by proximity of groundbreaking producers Organized Noize. His innate ability to communicate between artists, writers, and producers caught the attention of L.A. Reid and Perri “Pebbles” Reid—who heard and signed Parental Advisory.
“I ended up being the communicator, which I didn’t necessarily think was a talent,” he admits. “My goal was to make every album feel like an event or an experience that tells a story. For me, it was just about connecting great people with other great people. L.A. told me that I was actually doing A&R.”
Personally hired by L.A. as Vice President of A&R at LaFace Records in 1996, KP went on to A&R a string of seminal classics for the RIAA diamond-selling, six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning OutKast, including ATLiens, Aquemini, Stankonia, and Big Boi and Dre Present…OutKast. Concurrently, he oversaw the breakout of P!nk and Usher in between launching his own Ghet-O-Vision imprint and signing future “King of the South” Tip “T.I.” Harris and YoungBloodz. Transitioning from LaFace/Arista to Senior VP of A&R at Columbia Records in 2001, his hot streak continued as he signed John Legend and fostered the R&B crooner’s explosion with the release of “Ordinary People” in 2004 for the icon’s major label debut Get Lifted.
“As far as A&R goes, it’s not about finding someone or making them famous,” he explains. “The only thing you can do is coach and guide. When I’m working on a record, I try to make sure that there’s an honesty in it that people can relate to. You want artists' specific talents to translate to the masses. When I meet a special artist, it’s like I can already see them on a stadium stage. It just takes coaching to get them there.”
Following his time as Executive Vice President of A&R at Sony Urban Music from 2005-2007, he turned his attention to producing alongside Malay [Frank Ocean, Alessia Cara, ZAYN]. They built an impressive discography together, manning the board behind John Legend’s platinum-certified, GRAMMY® Award-nominated “Green Light” [feat. André 3000], Fantasia’s “The Thrill Is Gone” [feat. Cee-Lo Green], Jamie Foxx’s “15 Minutes,” Big Boi’s “Something’s Gotta Give” [feat. Mary J. Blige], and more.
He went from SVP of A&R at Def Jam to Head of Urban A&R (East Coast) at Atlantic Records in 2011. In between everything, he signed YelaWolf to Ghet-O-Vision and subsequently launched the Alabama spitter’s career producing a number of cuts on the acclaimed Trunk Muzik 0-60 and Radioactive. Meanwhile at Atlantic, he inked a deal with Kap G and reunited with T.I. for the blockbuster chart-topping gold-selling, Trouble Man: Heavy Is The Head.
During 2015, Pharrell tapped KP to become Head of Music at his creative venture i am OTHER. As Head Of Music, KP consulted on the soundtrack for Dope in addition to cultivating the careers of Kap G, BIA, and WatchTheDuck. Meanwhile, he also co-wrote Kendrick Lamar’s anthem “Alright” alongside Pharrell, for which he took home the 2016 GRAMMY® Award for “Best Rap Song.”
Simultaneously, KP The Great has cemented himself as one of the industry’s most in-demand DJs. A master on the decks, he’s lit up the stages of Miami’s Rolling Loud Festival, Complex Magazine’s ComplexCon, Atlanta’s Jazz Festival, One Music Fest and many more (as well as features in some of today’s top music and lifestyle sites such as Complex, DJ Mag, Bossip, Stupid Dope, Rolling Out, and Upscale Magazine. 2017 saw him perform as the closing headline DJ of Rolling Loud Festival with a show-stopping performance on Saturday night.
As a DJ, KP The Great has come full circle, emerging as an undeniable presence on stage. With many gigs booked for the future, expect him to continue making history. No matter what he does, he lives up to his personal motto, “Be Great.”
“It’s as simple as it sounds,” he explains. “Be the best that you can muster. You can’t control everything else. If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to at the level you know you can do it, that’s greatness. Don’t worry about beating anybody else. Say what you want and manifest it. By default, you will outwork everyone around you and reach your destination.”
Ultimately, that mindset fuels KP’s future as well.
“The goal is always to be great,” he leaves off. “Boxes are in your mind. You can exercise any thoughts you have. I get to write, be an executive, and a DJ as well as a human being and a father because I’m doing everything to the best of my ability.”