Aloha! Today we’re in a for a special treat - our friends Kwalified & Sirenz just released their newest album, Plane Ride from Hell! With that said, this week’s #FridayFeature is all about Kwalified! For the past decade, he has built his reputation as a dope freestyler, performer, and overall personality in Hawaii’s hip hop scene. He also visited my after-school Rap class a few months ago, and had a blast freestyling and talking with the kids. Personally, I’ve low key been a fan of Kwalified for some years now, so I’m excited to share his story with yall today. Scroll down for more of his interview, videos, and music.
OTDHipHop: What is your stage/music name? Please share any background on how you came up with it.
Kwalified: My stage name is Kwalified Emcee. I usually just go by Kwalified or Kwalified Emcee. The name I was going with originally was Katalyst. My good homie suggested Kwalified and I really rocked with it. So here we are.
OTDHipHop: How did you get started in music? Was it a gradual hobby that developed, or is it something you always wanted to do?
Kwalified: I wanted to be in the NBA. Haha. I come from a musical family. My dad played trumpet, my mom sang and played piano, my sisters could sing. We grew up going to church. Music was a big part of growing up. I would always try to freestyle and stuff when I was younger. As I got older, I started to take music more seriously, and it grew into love.
OTDHipHop: Why did you choose Hip Hop/Rap as your musical expression?
Kwalified: Hip hop was natural to me. It was just the first thing I thought to do musically. I’ve always been into other genres, and would love to experiment with them eventually, but hip hop is just my most natural form of musical expression.
OTDHipHop: Where are you from? And how does that influence your music and/or experience doing music?
Kwalified: I’m originally from San Diego, California. I consider Hawaii to be home. I guess both California and Hawaii are laid back places and that laid back feeling does find its way into my music from time to time. Beyond that, I’m not sure how else where I’m from affects my sound. I don’t know if I have a “regional” sound. I’m more fueled by how the music makes me feel.
OTDHipHop: Is music something you truly see as a potential career? What are some things you have learned when it comes to music and making it a lucrative business?
Kwalified: I definitely see music as a potential career. I feel like there are so many lanes and potential ways to make income now. You don’t even have to be super famous or break the bank producing your content.
I believe it’s extremely possible. One thing I’ve learned is that you’re gonna have to put in the work. No way around it. You just have to put in the work.
2018 just keeps on rollin’ yall.. So welcome back to OTDHipHop universe!
Before I introduce yall to this week’s #TrackTuesday, please SHARE this with your social media networks and let’s blow this up! Be sure to follow us onTwitter, Instagram, & Soundcloud. Alright, let’s get to the song review; today I’m vibing to a new track “Kenan & Kel” (Fuck Mondo), recently released by the Wavy Souls crew via Soundcloud.
Yo this track is definitely a banger Already at over 100k plays on Soundcloud, it’s pretty much low key viral. Overall, I dig the vibe of the track. The cover art is dope, a photo of Kenan & Kel and conveyed a goofy and youthful vibe. It also features Aloha Hype’s heavy hitter, Welo! I was wildin. Haha!
I’m a little bias with my opinion of this song because I’ve witnessed Wavy Souls perform this live and it was off the chain! But I will say that hearing the studio version is maaad lit! Production is on point so big ups to that. I think each artist went ham on their verses and came together well at backing each other’s vocals and annunciating different punchlines. It made me feel like I was at a college party, all while sitting on my couch watching Dave Chappelle. Lol. Anyways, I’m a fan of Kenan & Kell (Fuck Mondo) and the Wavy Souls. Someone please make a “Please don’t tell” and “Bitch I’m the source of a sauce” a meme and put it on a t-shirt! Lol. Big ups to Lee-o who was vital in producing this track! He also wrote the hook.
Happy Aloha Friday OTDHipHop fam! I have the pleasure to introduce y’all to my friend and fellow emcee/artist - Cedric Clinton! A couple weeks ago Cedric asked me to be on his Freestyle Friiiday livestream. Long story short, it was dope checking out his business’ warehouse and sharing each other’s stories in music and business. He is a former surf champion and owner of local screen printing company, Squeeze Play Hawaii. This young man is truly a gem!
See more from our interview below:
OTDHipHop: How’d you get your name?
Cedric: There's a deeper reason for using Clinton which relates to my crew/brand/movement Chi Funk. Chi Funk was inspired by G Funk (which relates to how I was introduced to hip hop) & G Funk evolved from P Funk (Parliament Funkadelic) who's leader is George Clinton.
Chi Funk = Cedric Clinton / P Funk = George Clinton. It just aligned.
OTDHipHop: How’d you get into making music, specifically Hip Hop/Rap?
Cedric: I was introduced to Hip Hop by the song "Forgot About Dre" by Dr. Dre & Eminem. Funny story, my best friend at the time James Ubias & I decided to enter the school talent show with that song. A few years ago I wrote a song about that story called "Westside Story" which is featured on my 1st 3-track EP Westside Stories. After school one day, I went to James' apartment with a blank cassette tape in an effort to catch the song on the radio & record it onto the cassette tape, so that we could practice with it for our school audition. We even called the radio station to request it from the DJ. The song finally came on, we recorded it, then downloaded & printed the lyrics. I remember us both debating over who got to be Eminem because we both wanted to be him super bad. I ended up losing that battle in a Jan Ken Po (Rock-Paper-Scissors) match. So, we memorized the lyrics & the audition day finally came. We got up in front of our class & performed. Mind you, this was in the 5th grade & the lyrics spoke about smoking weed, drinking alcohol, burning down houses & all kinds of profanity LOL. Surprisingly, we didn't end up making the cut for the talent show, however that didn't stop us. James & I ended up going to different middle & high schools, so we kind of lost touch, however we reconnected years later to discover we were both still rapping!
OTDHipHop: Where are you from? What is your background like?
Cedric: I'm born & raised on O'ahu, HI. My ethnic background is French, Spanish, Italian, & Portuguese. Growing up in Hawaii, I experienced so many different cultures which definitely has influenced my music. Not only do I incorporate local slang (pidgin), I also pull inspiration from the east coast, west coast, down south, & some influence from outside the USA. I can also speak French fluently, so I plan to incorporate some French into my raps in the future.
OTDHipHop is an independent music network & blog, curated by Rapper/Blogger Jehzan Exclusive.