Real Talk w/ Kwalified #ListenandShare #Hzup


What was the highight from your performance last night at the Blu and Exile show?

Man, just being able to share the stage with my brothers, The Horror Show, Cookbook, and seeing Blu and Exile rock shit from Below The Heavens. Also there was this girl with glasses and this scarf thing and every time I was dancing or something on stage, she started doing her own moves and stuff. That was fun. I’ll give homegirl a high five if I ever see her. Haha. It’s cool having people who will personally interact with you at shows like that. I like connecting with the people, you know? That’s one of the best parts of all this shit.

What behind the scene stories would you like to share that took place OR led to the final product that is “Listen and Share.”

Well, I went in to record the song “Sometimes” and my homegirl came through because she had the green. So we go ahead and get lifted, and I was all out. So I kinda just forced her to give me the rest of hers. Haha. I gave her 10 bucks tho. Haha. Then I put her on the song. She’s the voice saying sometimes with me in the hook.

Briefly about your roots in Hawaii and your first memories as a performer and supporter of Hawaii hip hop?

My father retired from the military here and I graduated from Kapolei High School. I first started performing when I was 15, but didn’t really start dipping my toe into our actual hip hop scene til I was 18. First time I went to a show was at a spot called Bliss Cafe. It’s something else now. Used to be called Grumpy’s. I went to go see LA Symphony. It’s funny how this all comes full circle, Cookbook of LA Symphony rocked the same show as me. We both rocked at the Blu and Exile show. It was crazy packed and too fun. Anyway, that was my first 18+ show and Creed Chameleon, Kavet the Catalyst and Amphibious Tungs opened. I was stoked on the whole show. I thought it was hilarious that Creed yelled out “Fuck Myspace!” when the show was actually sponsored by MySpace and there was a huge banner or theirs behind him. Haha.

First time I actually stepped on a stage was a little later that year, I believe. Sharlock Poems also of LA Symphony and Propaganda of TunnelRats came down and did a show. The Perfect Median and Bless opened. They killed it. Then at the end Prop invited up emcees to cypher. So I went up and that was the first time people in the scene really heard me rap. Bless knew though. Bless been the homie since ever since. Haha. I met Grip H that night. And that was the first connection I made to someone in the scene. Eventually that led to me performing more and making more music and then I linked with my homie Joncozy. We kicked it in high school. He was already making a name for himself as a DJ, and he was starting to rap. We linked up and did a couple mixtape tracks over some Blue Scholars beats and then we did another one with his homie that he introduced me to named Christian Viernes (RockZa) they made a couple songs together too and we made one with all 3 of us. From there Ill Hill was born. We met Bone, he gave us our first show together ever at Tropics and it was a wrap after that. Really grateful for that chance. 

How often do you write rhymes, where do you keep them?

I write pretty often. Maybe not whole songs or even whole verses. Just bits and pieces I’ll want to remember. I’ll keep that in my head, then when I have beats that I’m gonna actually put songs to, I’ll finish the verses. I’ll write’em in my phone usually now. Just because it’s convenient. I never have pens anymore. (lol) I write in my rhyme books still too. Sometimes you just gotta write it out though.

You end of shirtless on stage a lot, is that intended from the jump or does it just kinda happen?
(lol) Definitely wasn’t intended from the jump. One night Ill Hill was rocking a show at Nextdoor and it was hot as hell. Like super hot. So I made up my mind to rap without a shirt on. I decided that I was just gonna go hella crazy on stage and do it shirtless. Haha. I started doing it more because it was better than always sweating up my shirts. Haha. Then it became like a joke amongst me an the homies kinda and then even something I was known for. Haha. So now it’s almost expected at shows. Haha. When I don’t do it, people ask why I didn’t. (lol)


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