With the major shift in music since the start of the pandemic, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with all the music that’s coming out. Here in Richmond there is a very deep underground part of the city if you know how to find it. This is where you will find King Kaiju.
King Kaiju is one of those people who keeps Richmond hip hop on the map, as it should be. Hailing from Newport News, he’s been rapping here in Richmond for a few years, sharing stages with rappers like Project Pat and Xavier Wulf, hardcore/metal bands like King Nine and Guerrilla Warfare, and at least one artist, Ghostemane, who lies somewhere in between. His most recent release, Cruis’n RVA, refers to multi-track riding, and Kaiju is a member of the Broad Street Bullies, the team of kids on wheeled bikes who regularly take street rides around Richmond in the over the last year or so.
King Kaiju is playing a show this Saturday at the Bike Shop featuring DuctTape Jesus, Ty Sorrell, and more. We’ll have more on that in a moment, but first, we caught up with King Kaiju to find out what he’s been up to.
King Kaiju: I’m from Newport News, Virginia. When people ask me and they don’t know the state, I usually say Virginia Beach because that’s the easiest answer. But I’m from Newport News. Shipyard, military area, all that kind of stuff. There isn’t really a creative scene there. There are a few people doing their thing, but it’s not really a place to excel outside of work.
Zach Bazemore: True that. The whole 757, roughly?
KK: Yeah, not bad [laughs]. I love all my people there, but I encourage anyone who wants to do something fun and creative, and show off who they really are, there are more places to go in Virginia, and you don’t don’t even have to leave the state. Just diversify! Try new places.
ZB: What brought you to music?
KK: I’ve always been around music. My earliest memories are of riding in the car with my dad and he was playing anything from Jimi Hendrix, Biggie, gospel music or jazz. I’m honestly grateful for that, because now I listen to just about everything except country. Nothing against it, it’s just not my thing, really.
ZB: Shit yeah. What is your new project?
KK: It’s called Cruise and RVA. It’s six songs, something light. Some songs I wrote in a few months. I felt like they went together, and I’m pretty proud of that. I got a few singles from it on Spotify, but it’s all on SoundCloud and Bandcamp. It’s King Kaiju on just about everything…you might have to add a 757 to it.
ZB: Do you have upcoming shows?
KK: I do! Got a show coming up at the bike shop, Powers [Bike Shop]. There is going to be an after party after this great SE and Broad Street Bullies ride. It’s gonna be a good time.
ZB: Do you have any videos coming out soon?
KK: I hope on it. I really want to make a video, because I haven’t had one in a minute. It’s a very important part of music promotion, you have to have something to do with it. I also think it’s kind of a lost art. A lot of people don’t watch music videos, and that’s very important to me. Because personally, I like music videos, and when I write songs, I kind of have a mini-movie going around in my head. What I visualize is what I write. So I do my best to help you play this movie through my words, but if you have a little visual aid it usually helps. When you see someone have the full idea fleshed out on the movie, it makes it so much better.
ZB: What would you say to someone trying to break into the Richmond music scene? What advice would you give them?
KK: I don’t know if I have the same experience as many people. But what I would say is be yourself. Don’t try to fit someone else’s gender or aesthetic. Just be completely you. That’s the best way to get people to identify, because if you’re trying to be something else or someone else and people gravitate to that, and they listen your other music or meet you in person and see it’s not really you, that’s not a good thing. Not conducive to your work. You want to show off, and if you’re just doing your own thing and being true to yourself, then people are going to relate to it and people are going to like that.
ZB: Do you have a favorite artist from Richmond or who currently lives here that you listen to?
KK: Currently in Richmond, I have to say, lyrically, Nickelus F, Lil Ugly Mane and Lil Percy. Frankly. Producer wise, I have a list, man. Trashcat, Bmoneygeez, Ayostee, so many people. There is so much talent in this city. You know, if you get the chance and find out that someone is making music, call on them. It doesn’t have to be a serious thing, but being creative is always a good thing and it’s always fun.
ZB: True true. One last thing: if you could say something to people, to your fans, maybe even to your friends, something that you would like them to see in the magazine. What would you say?
KK: Honestly, I care a lot about people, so I’ll make some general statements. Drink water. Go outside. Whatever your creative outlet, do it. We all have days when we don’t feel like doing anything, but if you’re in a bad mood, go with what you’re doing. And sometimes you have to force yourself to do something. Usually it will start with you not wanting to do anything, but once you do, you’ll feel so good and wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. You know, whatever you like to do, go for it. Go out, drink some water. This is the main.
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, Tyr Sorrell, Rielxriel, 10K Zuri, 5dollawatuh and Lazy Raine. Doors open at 7 p.m., admission is $10 at the door.