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Kriminal Ties: Young Kazh talks new EPs, Stendo Gang & more

Kriminal Ties: Young Kazh talks new EPs, his comeup and more
Young Kazh (Photo: Meaghan Konopaki Photography)

Newfoundland-based writer Uncle Buck recently connected with BC-based, Sacramento-native Young Kazh to discuss his latest moves.

We previously connected with the Sacramento-native who now calls BC home back in 2015 when he was promoting his latest release at the time, Canadian Ties.

After some legal setbacks, and a brief hiatus from being able to focus on music, Young Kazh is back in full force, promoting two new dope collaborative EPs including the Stendo Gang EP (featuring Kazh, Don Castro, and Namilta), and Kriminal Ties (Kazh and Victoria-based MC, Mr. ESQ).

Kriminal Ties: Young Kazh talks new EPs, his comeup and more

Young Kazh (Photo: Meaghan Konopaki Photography)

Back in July, Kazh dropped the “I’m A G” remix (as Kriminal Ties) featuring Method Man, Merkules, and Sticky Fingaz. It was a remix to an old track by Kazh’s group Kuruption Camp (with Vancouver’s own, Tre Nyce).

Along with the new EPs, Kazh has also been featured on projects by various other artists including 3KINGZ (“Mention”), Spictacular (“Enemies”), and Ali Austin (“Ain’t Easy), to name a few.

Check out the Kriminal Ties EP below, along with our Q&A with Kazh discussing they came together, and other topics relating to Kazh’s career (including a bit of back story on his banger, “Canadian Ties” which featured Mobb Deep, Onyx, Snak The Ripper, JD Era, and Merkules).

Kriminal Ties: Young Kazh talks new EPs, his comeup and more

Q&A: Young Kazh (w/ Mr. ESQ)

HipHopCanada: Kazh… It’s been a minute bro, how have you been?

Young Kazh: I’m good my G. Had a few self imposed setbacks but am now happy to say I’m free of any legal problems and in the studio as often as I can be. Also, I just had a beautiful daughter named Aysiah Lee Doran.

HipHopCanada: Big congrats on the new addition to your family… It’s good to see you back from hiatus and hungry as ever.

Young Kazh: I’m trying to be. We just released the Stendo Gang EP. That’s Don Castro, Namilta and myself. Now I’m just gearing up to drop this Kriminal Ties EP which is Mr. ESQ and myself. Since I’ve been back to BC, I’ve been connecting with people I knew since I was hella young. Trying to bring my experience living everywhere else in Canada back to the home-front – Victoria.

HipHopCanada: I’m fairly familiar with your backstory but, for those who aren’t, why don’t you tell the rest of Canada where you’re from and what your comeup was like.

Young Kazh: I’m from Sacramento, California. Oak Park to be exact and, to keep it a hundred, it’s fucked up but it’s home. I love it there. The people that ride wit’ you are with you for life. If you wanna know a little more about Oak Park go play that new Mozzy! Or that old Mozzy. Feels good having a hometown nigga from the same hood, same Ave, on top of not only Sacramento, but Cali as well.

HipHopCanada: At what age did you start rapping?

Young Kazh: I first wrote when I was eleven but my Momma said I was goin’ off the top since I was like six.

HipHopCanada: Did you think back then that music was something you would pursue for years to come or…?

Young Kazh: I was a baseball player so music was something I just did on the side. Your boy wasn’t quite Ken Griffey though so when the ball didn’t fly over the fence everytime, I was let down… (Laughs) I’ve been locked into music since like ’07.

HipHopCanada: If you had to tell a potential new fan to go home and listen to one Yung Kazh song what song would that be?

Young Kazh: It depends what you feelin’ at the time. My personal favorite would probably be “Canadian Ties.” Shout out to Merkules… He’s been a big help wit’ life and music. Snak (SDK) showed hella love and his verse was wild. JD Era gave me a nice 8 bars for that record as well. RIP to Prodigy for lacing the intro and Havoc (Mobb Deep) for doing the hook. I didn’t know Prodigy was gonna be at the studio when I showed up… I was like, “my nigga, you gotta fuck wit me.” We smoked and chopped it up, he hella funny. I didn’t think in a million years that in less than a year he’d be gone. It shook me up a little bit cause I been a Mobb Deep fan since I started. Oh, and both them bald niggas in Onyx destroyed the song, as usual. As a fan of hip-hop, I don’t think with a million dollars I could have put together a better lineup for one track. Go play CANADIAN TIES!

HipHopCanada: That is an insane lineup. And Rest in Power to Bandana P! You kinda segued into my next question… I know you’ve worked with and done features with a pile of big name artists and hip-hop legends. Which are you most proud of and, to play Devil’s advocate for a moment, if you HAD to take one back who would it be?

Young Kazh: Take one back? Damn, you trying to start a new rap war? (Laughs). Method Man was a great moment for me. W.C. of Westside Connection was dope but, working with Onyx and Swollen definitely meant and means the most to me. I wouldn’t take any back.

HipHopCanada: It’s evident you’ve been putting in crazy work in the studio… I’ve been jamming to the Stendo Gang EP, but can you tell me a little more about the Kriminal Ties project with Mr. ESQ and how it came into fruition?

Young Kazh: Yeah… Mr. ESQ (Esquimalt) and me go back to the early 90’s so it was only right when we linked back up we do a project together. As far as features, we’ve got Merkules on there twice, Sticky Fingaz, my nigga from Houston TreD80, and Method Man are all on it. My big brother Madchild is on there, Mike Sherm, Eddy Vocals, Rai Provo, Spiktacular is on there and Young Dre from the North is on there too. RIP Joe Gauthier.

HipHopCanada: Okay, Okay… Mr. ESQ can you formally introduce yourself to those who may not be familiar with your past work and what you’ve got going on now?

Mr. ESQ: Yeah, my name is Mr. ESQ. I’ve been doing hip-hop for over twenty years in Vic’s underground scene but kept it mostly local until recently. I influenced a lot of artists from Victoria when they were younger, watching me put my rhymes together. Now, when they see me they pay homage and say I was the reason they started emceeing, so that’s a blessing to hear something like that for me personally. I released an album over ten years ago locally during my incarceration. I actually recorded the whole album in a 6×9 cell and released it while I was locked up.

I then took a hiatus from music until just this year when I dropped an LP called, Letter to Judgement, that created some traction and a great buzz as my fans and supporters had been waiting on it. We dropped some visuals and the reactions have been a blessing but one song / video in particular, “He’s an Angel,” about my son means the world to me. Rest easy, Lil Man. Respect to everyone who reached out for real… I appreciate you.

As far as what I’m working on now is unorthodox and unheard of, at least in my area code. As you know, I did Kriminal Ties with Kazh and I’m following it up with three EPs and three mixtapes, all in the next three months. 2018 is gonna be crazy to say the least so stay tuned.

HipHopCanada: Very dope. Look forward to hearing these projects when they drop. Bless. Kazh… With all this traction from the EPs, mixtapes, shows and features, can we expect a Yung Kazh solo project anytime soon?

Young Kazh: Damn right. I gave these niggas three (projects) in one year and got slept on a lil’ bit. So now, y’all gotta wait… (Laughs) Nah, I’m just fucking wit’ you. I gotta talk to Matt Gibbs, and when he’s ready y’all will have it.

HipHopCanada: Are you at liberty to discuss who you might tap for features when its album time? Aside from the usual suspects of course from SDK, 100 MAD and BAXWAR.

Young Kazh: Mozzy is heavy on my radar! I’d also like to work with Philthy Rich and, as you know, Onyx and Mad are gonna be on whatever I do.

HipHopCanada: What’s the current label situation? Last we heard you signed to 100 MAD and BAXWAR, has anything changed?

Young Kazh: I’m solo, no label, but we’re all family still and make music together. I don’t make enough to let others take from my little pile. Plus, I’m too hard headed not to put my own money up so a label has never been a good look for me. I want my kids to have all the profit and me to have to have all the say. It’s not like they held me back, it’s just it’s a business and I get it.

HipHopCanada: Is there anything else you want your fans / supporters to know or watch out for?

Young Kazh: Yeah, look out for Merk to sign me (Laughs) Joking… I mean I’m focused, so just keep your eyes open for any project me and Matt Gibbs do. I’ve been waiting to deal with that. Also, Rest in Peace to my soul, my heart, MawMaw (my Grandma). Verlee Doran and love to all the Jennings, Beltons, Jacksons and Dorans in Sacramento… Love y’all forever, never go away. And to my loving girlfriend, Shawnie Blinko, and our newborn daughter, Aysiah; they’ve been a huge help gettin’ me through this. Also, Mr. ESQ and Madchild, for the undying homie love.

You can follow @YoungKazh on Instagram.

Interview conducted by Uncle Buck for HipHopCanada

Uncle Buck is a member of the HipHopCanada Content Team and based in Atlantic Canada.

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