UK Star Rapper Khaki talks new music, hip hop and high profile collaborations,
What inspired you to become a hip hop artist?
I was inspired at a young age through listening to, and watching, artists such as Drake and Lil Wayne grow in the music world. I always saw them as role models and looked up to the way they could make you feel listening to one of their songs or watching one of their music videos. Since starting secondary school at 13 I had always been very single minded when it comes to the music I listen to. It’s always been American Hip-hop and around the time I was getting into rapping myself it was really the YMCMB golden days with Lil Wayne, Birdman, Nicki & Tyga which made me want to become a rapper even more.
The best thing about Hip-hop and music in general really is the way a song can make you feel whether its motivated, inspired, happy or even if you are going through something hard music can help you. Writing and mixing your own music work gives you an outlet to be able to express all of your feelings and also give people a chance to understand them as well. Getting feedback from people listening to your music, and seeing or hearing your vision is crazy, and once I started to see people reacting to my music, it only made me want to pursue it more.
How is the music scene different in U.K. and the States?
Well to be honest where I live in the UK there isn’t so much of a music scene at all. Well especially not to a professional or competitive level. I live North UK though, and the music scene in the UK is predominantly down south around London.
As you can probably gather from my previous answer though, I don’t listen to many UK artists! I know over the last few years UK rap has definitely blown up and it is definitely looking good for artists over here as the US is starting to show an interest in UK rap. Drake is obviously a predominant character in the music industry and I think that him doing his album featuring UK rapper Giggs will have definitely turned some heads and given some more exposure to UK rap.
Do you think it’s easier or harder?
I think that opportunities are definitely harder to come by, especially North UK where I am based. We don’t have the same opportunities for shows that I think we would have available in the US and reaching an audience that listens to my style of music is harder. I get enquiries about doing shows overseas a lot, but it is not always possible with the travel. I managed to get a slot to support The Game in Middlesbrough last year but opportunities like that are definitely hard to come by here.
Saying this though, obviously lots of the music side is online meaning you can reach everyone in the world through different platforms like YouTube and Instagram for example. I have grown a great fanbase in loads of different countries these platforms and also got some great opportunities through them: such as Shows in Spain, working with different clothing brands, getting people from all over the country to come together and feature in a video and even a show in Toronto coming up later this year alongside some artists I have worked with over there.
How were you able to get the features that you did?
I have spent countless hours in the studio writing, recording and mixing my tracks and really trying to perfect my sound. I have been doing this for over 8 years now and over the last few years I started to feel ready to step it up. I have a great team behind me and it would feel wrong to answer this question without mentioning that basically none of the opportunities would have come up without help from the team as a whole but especially my best friend Nathan, or as people will know him online ‘nm.media’.
As a team we both know the importance of online presence as an artist, so ever since the start have always wanted everything to be the same level or as close as possible to the top players like Drake etc. Through doing this and releasing the work on social platforms I have gained lots of fans, friends and also lots of industry contacts that like my sound, style or the way we go about our work. Building up these contacts obviously doors start to open. I support a lot of other artists in the game and when you give love out you get it back and people are going to want to work with you or help you out.
With this track, I heard Asian Da Brat’s (formally known as Asian Doll) track “Lame Niggaz’. It had actually come up on YouTube at the time so I was watching the video and I just thought… Man I need this girl on a track with me. I reached out through Instagram and sent her other a few ideas then we she laid down her verse for me, she really killed it at her end!
For the upcoming album I have had chance to work with some crazy artists! Lots of them artists that I have looked up to since starting out. More recently I have a song with Freebandz CEO and rapper, Casino which isn’t out yet. I am looking forward to seeing what’s next.
Tell us about your single and the message behind it?
The single ‘That Work’ is definitely me trying to step up to that next level and show the fans that we are going upwards. I think doing what I do in my town and region where it is definitely not the ‘norm’ comes with its positives and negatives. The attitude from a lot of people around this area can be quite a negative one and I think lots of people do feel the need to just fit in and be ‘normal’ you could say.
With this song I think people can listen to it and watch the video and be inspired to be different and dare to do what they want as you can be successful doing what you love to do. It is a message to people who do hate on the next person that they have no power over anyone, but also a message to the people who do support that with hard work we can do it. As the song says “We ain’t got no problems – got that work”.
Who would you like to work with next?
An artist that I have been listening to and would love to work with would be Lil Baby. I still have his album Street Gossip on repeat and think the whole vibe of that project is crazy.
As for the next artist I would want to link up with on a track in the near future I would probably say Lil Pump or Icy Narco. I have really been enjoying the sound of the new wave recently so I think it would be a great track with either of them!
What’s next for Khaki
I have loads of tracks I am looking forward to releasing on my album later this year. Along with this obviously we will be dropping some mad visuals and also showcasing the crazy feature artists I have linked up with on the project I am building up to release.
I also have some big performance slots over the year and just hope reach more people with my music.