With the major shift in music since the start of the pandemic, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all the music coming out. Here in Richmond there is a very deep underground part of the city if you know how to find it. That’s where you’ll find King Kaiju.
King Kaiju is one of those people keeping Richmond hip hop on the map, as it should be. Originally hailing from Newport News, he’s been rapping here in Richmond for the past couple of years, sharing stages with rappers like Project Pat and Xavier Wulf, hardcore/metal groups like King Nine and Guerrilla Warfare, and at least one artist, Ghostemane, who lies somewhere inbetween. His most recent release, Cruis’n RVA, makes reference to riding on multiple tracks, and Kaiju is a member of the Broad Street Bullies, that crew of wheelie bike kids who’ve been doing street rides around Richmond on a regular basis over the last year or so.
King Kaiju is playing a show this Saturday at The Bike Shop with DuctTape Jesus, Ty Sorrell, and more. We’ll have more on that in a bit, but first, we caught up with King Kaiju to get the lowdown on what he’s been up to.
King Kaiju: I’m from Newport News, Virginia. When people ask me and they aren’t familiar with the state, I usually say Virginia Beach, because that’s just the easiest answer. But I’m from Newport News. Shipyard, Military area, all that type of stuff. There’s not really a creative scene down there. There’s a few people doing their thing, but it’s not really somewhere you can excel at anything outside of work.
Zach Bazemore: True that. The whole 757, pretty much?
KK: Yeah, pretty much [laughs]. I love all my people out there, but I encourage everybody that wants to do something fun and creative, and show who they actually are, there’s more places in VA to go, and you don’t even have to leave the state. Just branch out! Try some new places.
ZB: What got you into music?
KK: I’ve always been around music. My earliest memories are driving around in the car with my dad and he would be playing anything from Jimi Hendrix, Biggie, gospel music or jazz. I’m honestly grateful for that, because now I listen to everything pretty much except for country. Nothing against it, it’s just not my thing, really.
ZB: Hell yeah. What’s your newest project?
KK: Its called Cruis’n RVA. It’s six songs, something slight. Some songs I wrote over a couple months. I felt like they went together, and I’m pretty proud of it. I got couple singles from it on Spotify, but the whole thing is on SoundCloud and Bandcamp. It’s King Kaiju on pretty much everything… you might have to add a 757 to it.
ZB: You have any shows coming up?
KK: I do! I have a show coming up at the bike shop, Powers [Bike Shop]. There’s gonna be an after party after this big SE and Broad Street Bullies rideout. It’s gonna be a good time.
ZB: You have any videos coming out soon?
KK: I’m hoping on it. I really wanna do a video, because I haven’t had one in a minute. It’s a really important part of pushing the music, you gotta have something to see to go along with it. I also think it’s kind of a lost art. A lot of people don’t watch music videos, and that’s really important to me. Because personally, I like music videos, and when I write songs I kinda have a little mini-movie going on in my head. What I’m visualizing is what I’m writing down. So I try my best to help you play that movie through my words, but if you have a little visual aid, that usually helps. When you see somebody have the full idea fleshed out on film, that makes it so much better.
ZB: What would you say to someone that’s trying to get into the music scene in Richmond? What advice would you give them?
KK: I don’t know if I have the same experience as a lot of people. But what I would say is just be yourself. Don’t try to fit into anyone else’s genre or aesthetic. Just be completely you. That’s the best way to get people to relate, because if you’re trying to be something else or somebody else and people do gravitate towards it, and they listen to your other music or meet you in person and see that’s not really you, it’s not a good thing. Not conducive to your work. You wanna put yourself out there, and if you just do your own thing and be true to yourself, then people are gonna relate, and people are gonna like it.
ZB: Do you have a favorite artist from Richmond or that currently lives here, that you listen to?
KK: Currently in Richmond, I would have to say, lyrics-wise, Nickelus F, Lil Ugly Mane, and Lil Percy. Honestly. Producer wise, I got a list, man. Trashcat, Bmoneygeez, Ayosteee, so many people. There’s so much talent around this city. You know, if you get the opportunity and find out someone makes music, tap in with them. It’s doesn’t have to be a serious thing, but being around creativity is always a good thing, and it’s always fun.
ZB: True, true. One last thing: if you could say something to the people, your fans, maybe even your friends, something you want them to see in the magazine. What would you say?
KK: Honestly, I care about people a lot, so I’m gonna make a couple general statements. Drink water. Go outside. Whatever your creative outlet is, do that. We all have some days where we kinda don’t feel like doing anything or whatever, but if you’re in a bad mood, just go to whatever it is that you do. And sometimes your have to make yourself do whatever that is. Usually it’ll start off with you not wanting to do whatever that is, but once you’re in the process of it, it feels so good, and you’ll think to yourself why you didn’t do it sooner. You know, whatever it is that you love to do, go do it. Go outside, drink water. That’s the main thing.
Catch King Kaiju at The Bike Shop, located at 3119 Williamsburg Road, on Saturday, June 25 for the RVA Rideout After Party, also featuring DuctTape Jesus, Tso Ghostly, Ty Sorrell, Rielxriel, 10K Zuri, 5dollawatuh, and Lazy Raine. Doors open at 7 pm, admission is $10 at the door.