Yung Kazh and Rappin Rick James talk Kuruption Camp, Onyx and more [Interview]
Vancouver, BC – Sometime around 2004-2006, I came across a BC-based artist named Yung Kazh, originally from Sacramento, California. He happened to be incarcerated in the United States at the time, despite having relocated to Canada. The music had me hooked from the first verse and his story was both intriguing and perplexing. I wanted to get an interview but the thought of lining it up seemed a bit daunting, all things considering. I had come across Kazh accidently so I didn’t have anyone to follow-up with. But I did my research and through mutual friends I was able to make the interview happen. As a result, we offered many people their first introduction to Yung Kazh. The interview went well and I managed to keep in touch with Kazh as he sorted his situation out. I even included one of his tracks on a mixtape I released around the same.
Fast forward to 2012 and you’ll see that Kazh has turned his whole life around. He’s been released and has been working in overdrive, accomplishing quite a bit in a short amount of time. Not to long ago it was announced that he was becoming a member of Onyx and he had already been part of their 100Mad collective. Aside from that, Kazh is focusing on the growth of his own movement, Kuruption Camp, along with fellow Kuruption Camp member Rappin Rick James and a large group of other artists and musicians.
With a new mixtape out not to long ago, and a ton of other projects in the works, Kazh and Rick check in with HipHopCanada to bring us up to speed. Check out the Q&A after the jump.
Kuruption Camp: Q&A
HipHopCanada: Let’s start the questions off like this. Kazh, the first time I interviewed you, you were inside and locked up on some charges. Obviously, your life is in a completely different state right now. Aside from your freedom, what’s the biggest difference between the Yung Kazh you are now and the person you were back then?
Yung Kazh: Well first off, I wanna say thanks for that interview. It came at a time I needed to know I was more then the person that was locked up. It lifted me up and set me on this mission. Well first off, I’m free, bless the lord for that. I have been able to make music with a lot of great artists that I consider my good friends. Tre Nyce, Madchild, Prevail, Rob The viking, Zes Nomis, DJ Kemo, Sticky Fingaz, Fredro Starr, and Rappin Rick James! This has opened a lot in my life and I’m so grateful to be free.
HipHopCanada: Do you believe prison can reform someone?
Yung Kazh: Hell no but it can make you get smarter, realize what you’re doing wrong, what you miss… but more people get hurt by jail than helped. It does a lot to one’s mind and makes people more hollow. I’ll tell you like this, freedom isn’t that free when you get caught up with the U.S. feds.
HipHopCanada: You’re originally from Sacramento, California. What originally brought you to Vancouver?
Yung Kazh: My mother is Canadian, so I have dual citizenship. She got into some trouble in Cali so when she was released she brought me and my two brothers to Canada. I first lived in Surrey, then we moved to Victoria. I’ve been all around Canada, living in every city the past 5 years since I got out. And I tell you, I love this country so much.
HipHopCanada: The last time I interviewed you, you were working closely with Vancouver’s Firehouse Records team. What happened with that situation?
Yung Kazh: Mad love to the original team. Shit, you took me back with that question. Tre and I were making music and kind of got off track. We had a group and we went with that. Firehouse had a lot of stuff to do so we went on our own path. But honestly, they’re always with us. I still got my tatty! It’s Firehouse all day. Tell Nyce I said that [Laughing].
HipHopCanada: Rappin Rick, how did you and Yung Kazh originally link up?
Rick: Originally in high school at Mount Doug (Victoria) but we never fully kicked it. We re-linked and became homies 2 to 3 years ago. We made our first songs together at Bocko’s studio. Shout-out to the Make Music Project.
HipHopCanada: How did the Kuruption Camp come together? What does it represent?
Yung Kazh: Kuruption Camp is a movement of real artists that just want to make real music. It came together when me and Tre Nyce first met. We’ve got 8 artists now. Myself, Tre Nyce, Zes Nomis, Rick James, Big Shot, Supaman Kaliente, Dizzy and Aspect.
HipHopCanada: What’s the most important thing people need to know about the new 2012 project.
Yung Kazh: That we spent a lot of time on this tape to bring Canada and our true fans something to be proud of! And this is the start of it… way more to follow!
Rick: I’ve never been apart of something this epic… and I feel sorry for anyone who dosen’t get to experience audio stimuli of this caliber.
HipHopCanada: What’s next for Kuruption Camp, in terms of albums or mixtapes?
Yung Kazh: We’ve got the new mixture following this, look for that! New videos, with Big Shot Music. And Kuruption Camp just bought the Cannon 7D so holler if you need quality videos.
Rick: What’s next? Infinity and beyond [Laughing] We’ve got some awesome surprises for our fans, a huge Onyx tour lined up… lots more vids.
HipHopCanada: Big Shot Music is handling a good chunk of the Kuruption Camp visuals. Can you breakdown how that relationship came to be and what you guys are working on next?
Yung Kazh: Yeah Big Shot is the homie, he’s part of KC! He hit me up and offered me a video. Since then, we’ve traveled around Canada and been real busy! Shot has done all types of videos for a lot of artists. He just finished the new Freeway video!
HipHopCanada: Is Kuruption Camp recuriting? How would upcoming artists or producers get involved with the movement?
Yung Kazh: Yes we always looking to improve our camp! We find artists that have the respect of their city. That smoke like we do, drink like we do, got shortys like we do, take music as serious as we do and dedicate themselves to this shit!
HipHopCanada: Rick, tell us about your rock band, Black Lotus. How did the “We Ready” single featuring Emotionz and Prevail come to be?
Rick: Black Lotus is the band me and Peter Loung [lead guitarist] created… we first started recording in Toronto. I brought him back to Edmonton to meet Big Shot and to do some work with us. “We Ready” was recorded after I produced the beat… and we added the guitar after.
HipHopCanada: Kazh, you’re part of 100Mad and it was reported that you were becoming an official member of legendary rap group Onyx. Is that still going down? Can you bring us up to speed with where things are at?
Yung Kazh: Yeah, 100Mad all day! Me and Fredro been cool for along time. Right now we’re working on a few projects. X-gang is an EP idea Fredro came up with. It’s just him and I. Then we’ve got the 100Mad mixtape which has Fredro, Sticky, Bishop Brigante, Snak The Ripper, myself and it’s being put together by Perry. And I’m part of Onyx, that’s my family. As far as the music goes, just keep watching. Y’all will see!
HipHopCanada: Rick, you produce, rap, engineer, mix and master and, as we touched on before, you’re in a rock band. If you absolutely had to choose one of the items in that list and abandon the rest, which would it be? Where is your passion the strongest within the various layers of making music?
Rick: I don’t know, that’s a hard question. I treat every skill I obtain as another tool in my tool box. It makes me a more effective artist. I think my biggest strength is that I’m excellent in all these areas. It keeps me sounding more innovative and unique.
HipHopCanada: Which rappers are you feeling the most in Canada right now?
Rick: Us… [Laughing] But besides us, Shout-out to Swollen Members. I’ve got lots of love for them and the opportunities they have provided. Huge shout-out to Moka and Evil Ebenezer, and Concise and Checkmate (Defenders of the Faith). Them four are my favourite Canadian rappers.
Yung Kazh: I’m bumping that, Snak, that Madchild shit! Emotions, Manik, Dock Boys, that Jay Worthy, Blood, Heatwave, SSM, King Khan, Moka Only (ZZBRA). But most of all I’m feeling that one dude… ummmm, he’s the dopest right now: Yung Kazh! [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: [Laughing] Producers?
Rick: Me… [Laughing] But besides me, DJ Kemo has been very good to us. He’s a genius. Also can’t forget Rob The Viking who turned me from a young padawan to master status. Lots of new dope Canadian producers out there now like Dolomite, Def Stef, and Aspect. Can’t forget about some of my long time favourites like Checkmate and Concise. They’ve been dope for a while.
Yung Kazh: Jasper, Make Um Def, Rob The Viking, DJ Kemo, Checkmate, St. Kelly, Concise, even though I don’t like the dude anymore. Chef!
HipHopCanada: Will Kuruption Camp be touring anytime soon?
Yung Kazh: Here and there with Swollen Members and random cities, I will hit y’all with new dates but look for the 100Mad tour this September, hitting the West coast and mid-West!
HipHopCanada: Ok one moe question guys. If someone were to listen to your music for the first time today, what song would want them to hear? Which track gets to make that first impression?
Rick: Number 9, “Do U Mind” featuring Noble and my favourite is number 20, “Destiny” featuring Swollen Members. I had goosebumps putting the final mix on that song.
Yung Kazh: “Destiny” and yo, if you see my momma, tell her I love her it’s been 2 years I miss y’all so much! Matthew come visit me, I got the flight, tell James, use that new apartment like I would! [Laughing] Thanks Dutchy, my dude, and yo, I never knew your bars were so good… when you gonna pick up the mic again? [Laughing]
HipHopCanada: [Laughing] Putting me on the spot! I’ve got the journalist hat on right now, but thank you, and thanks for your time. See you on the road!
Don’t forget to visit KuruptionCamp.com.
Interview conducted by Jesse “Dutchy” Plunkett for HipHopCanada