K-Hill: The Conscious One
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In light of celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it made me wonder how would he feel about the state of music today especially Hip Hop. Are we the "artistic ones" utilizing our platform to be a change agent in our communities or society? Years ago Hip Hop music was formulated, in my opinion, as a liaison between the artist and the streets. It was a time of great storytelling and conscious efforts to demand change in our communities. Artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, Public Enemy, EPMD, N.W.A., KRS-One, Queen Latifah, or MC Lyte just to name a few were speaking volumes through their music. Nowadays we here songs to create vibrant dance moves to or its mainstream popular because its banging in the clubs. Still, as a Hip Hop lover I have to talk about those left in the battle to create great lyrical content filled music. I met artist K-Hill at a public forum called "ForWord" where people in the Wilson, NC community talked about religion vs. spirituality. After meeting him and realizing that we had similarities I knew I had to share his artistry with you. So we got a chance to talk about music, beat labs, and family. The coolest part is we are both from Wilson, North Carolina!
So here's how it all went down........
Tell me about your form of artistry.
K-Hill: "I'm a rapper, dj, beat maker, producer, and mentor for the Beat Making Lab in Chapel Hill so we always have different people coming through. Its mainly teenagers that I teach to make music and they teach me too. Some of them are kind of raw but when they get in there actively and turn around to see me dj at the State Fairgrounds their attitudes switch up. The Beat Lab started at UNC and the part I work with is an auxiliary of that."
I'm making an album for where I am in my life that has a pure sound that's mature.- K-Hill
When did you start making music?
K-Hill: "I started doing music when I was like 14 years old and you had your heroes on TV I had KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, and Pete Rock those were my icons but when your from a small town you didn't think that was obtainable to do music. Back then there was no internet to connect you it was either you made it or you didn't. One of the first Hip Hop groups I ever heard in the area was this group called Black Radio. They were students from Hunt and Fike High Schools. Wayne Hodges he was to me like the Top 10 I wanna be like because he not only is he a dope lyricist but educated. So I thought this can be done for real. I came into the game as a beat maker and when you go off to school where you see what's really out there but you come back home with a different perspective not that your better but you know there is more to obtain out there. So that's when I started taking it seriously in writing, song structure, and beat making."
Did you have any mentors you were working with in the beginning?
K-Hill: "Oh wow, from the beginning I was working with this cat named DL who lived in Goldsboro but moved here to Raleigh/Durham area. Then from DL to DY Nasty who use to work for K 97.5 and when I did my first showcase in Raleigh that's when I met 9th Wonder. One of my good friends a guy named L.e.g.a.c.y who was apart of a group called The Justus League. So he asked if he could bring them by and I was like they better be hot! So as a producer I had to learn to be versatile. Ski Beats is the guy who did Camp Lo's "Luchini" and he did a lot of classic records. When I found out he was from Greensboro I realized I can do it too. This was a time when if you were into hip hop and you were from NC if you were affiliated with 9th Wonder in any kind of way then people wanted to hear what you had to say. So I had a chance to work with 9th Wonder and my friend Derrick Liles had just passed so we worked together that's where the song "A Letter To Sick L"came from. So back then the way he worked after he produced a track he would take it over to the radio station and it would go viral. So right after that I had a name. So Derrick's death became my birth. Then I heard Neblina records wanted me to be a song so I did"DA Instigator" they did this heavy guerrilla marketing strategy putting flyers of me from Raleigh to Canada then I had an opportunity to be on the bonus track of Genius. Then 9th dropped "Dream Merchant Vol. 1" and my joint is the first song up there. Then from there I had a chance to work with a lot of people and I had the chance to work with Big Daddy Kane. I was able to make beats and write so years later I met Big Daddy Kane.
I'm never gonna call Kane because he's my hero and I was just going to be happy I met him.-K-Hill
I said if I'm 23 and haven't made it I'm done so I had my daughter and I got married young so I thought this is it but that's when it all started. I talked to God about it everyday like if its meant for me to do it will be here after I handle my responsibilities and it is. K-Hill
K-Hill: "I may be bringing Bi-Monthly "Power of the Tongue" Series back soon, I also DJ, and I have the Beat making Lab where I mentor teens."
K-Hill is a real life Hip Hop story come to life where he was able to take his career to amazing heights to even working professionally with his favorite artists. His lyrical content is poetic and profound telling his story his way. Its not only a testament to him as an artist but as a man. His story shows you its not about where you start but where your willing to go. For him it was about being dedicated to his craft. His style is original, conscious driven, and made with purpose. It was indeed a pleasure to do this interview!
Until next time ladies and gentleman this is The Lux Blog! -K. Knight