Massive B Label’s Skateland Riddim
Empress K –Reggae Reflection
In 2005, International Reggae artist Khari Kill from Trinidad and Tobago achieved key recognition for his well known chart-topping hit, Picture of Selassie (on the Truth & Rights riddim) produced by Bobby Konders for the Massive B label. A full length album of the same title followed in 2007 and it’s shortly after that time that I met Khari Kill for the first time in VT when he was touring in support of his album.
I recently spoke to Khari Kill about his new production D Ting Send with Bobby Konders on the Skateland Riddim and the premiere of his new video for it which is again receiving the posititive attention of DJs worldwide. The Skateland Riddim released by Massive B on 12/4/15 also features Junior Reid, Eek a Mouse, Burro Banton, Lorde Leno, and Ras Gode. Our conversation on Khari’s recent work, his Born to Rule clothing line and upcoming plans for 2016 follow.
Empress K: Is this your first time working with Bobby Konders since originally coming together on Picture of Selassie?
Khari Kill: Yes and no. He produced a couple previous songs before, however it was not full promotion with those productions. This is the first one that is getting a lot of feedback like Picture of Selassie. It’s going very good. I’ve been getting dub requests from Europe, Trinidad, France, and England – a lot of promotional dubs. A lot of djs are loving it. I got a good word from Jamaica as well – Bobby told me this when they played it on Irie FM. It’s only been out two weeks now.
Empress K: How did this project come about?
Khari Kill: Bobby Konders is always in Brooklyn and keeps an event called Fire Sundays every Sunday. From time to time when I am in town, I stop by. As the years go by we keep the relationship and when he has something coming up, he lets me know. As I mentioned he had two previous riddims: The 2010 Computer Riddim and the Jah Love Riddim that he also released, however they did not have full promotion as this new one has.
I already know it’s a platform for me so once I get a riddim from Bobby Konders, then I’m happy because my best is able to be seen.
Empress K: Tell me about the concept of your new video for the song. I noticed some familiar scenery in Brooklyn.
Khari Kill: Yes, I was in Brooklyn at the same time. Everything was synchronized so nicely. The song was voiced by Takashi music studios on Nostrand and Atlantic (1281 Atlantic). That is the most recent studio I’ve been going to.
Once I got the riddim, I voiced it there and while working in that area where Takashi lives, I met Matthew Kanbergs (@mkanbergs), a photographer and his wife Natalie Okupniak (@Okupniak) who works in the film industry and loves Reggae. So that was it, we filmed the video in one day. It was a simple plan that we had to just shoot some scenery and delivery systems.
Empress K: I just realized while reading your bio that you created the artwork for both of your albums, Picture of Selassie and Born to Rule.
Khari Kill: A lot of people don’t realize I’m a double artist – I’m an artist and an artiste. I paint and the more I get into the music, I’m relaxed and have more time to show my paintings so I was able to do it with Born to Rule . That album was done in California by I Dwell records. Yeah, I did the artwork for it; I still have the artwork hanging in my house.
Empress K: What other artistic creations can we expect from you?
Khari Kill: I have a clothing line called Born to Rule. A lot of people don’t know that I sell exclusive clothing by orders only. The art from one of my albums, I took it to Harlem to a store called Harlem Underground and worked with the person to be able to load all the artwork design into a computer to feed the embroidery machines and I was able to create some beautiful embroidered sweaters and t-shirts. The t-shirts sell for $150 and the sweaters for $250. They are exclusive and by orders only. The designs I did are now closed and when I open it back up the prices will go up. Look out for more of that coming.
I took a rest from it just to deal with getting the new single on the road. Prior to the single I was doing a lot of art on clothing such as sneakers. Right now I’m wearing some custom made Pumas that I painted with full artwork. I’ve done three orders already and they go for $350. People see them and they are wowed and go crazy so I give them my card and they call to order.
Empress K: I’m familiar with your Born to Rule clothing line. It looks like it is featured in your new video?
Khari Kill: Yes, I had a couple pieces in it. In the box that was delivered where he opens it up and there are Born to Rule cds and the black sweater with full embroidery. It is called Drummers On The World. Also The hand painted designs cost more and I’m wearing a hand painted shirt with Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen. A lot of people know that picture with him and she is holding a red umbrella.
Empress K: What other opportunities do you anticipate and what do you have planned for 2016?
Khari Kill: Well I want you to know I am a full musician for all genres. A lot of people don’t know that I write a lot of melodies. I write pop music, all genres of music. Before I answer, I’m remembering when Bob Marley and Peter Tosh music was in the top 40 and once you are in the top 40 it’s considered pop. Basically that’s me, I’m just trying to take the music to the level where it’s playing in the top 40. It doesn’t have to literally have a reggae beat behind it. Once it’s beautiful, once there’s a message , once it sounds great then people can have a joy from it. So you can look out for some of that from me. I’ll be working with people like Ted Ganung who i did Sirens with. Ted works for VP right now as a manager. I work with Lisa Eva Blessed (@lisaevablessed) , she’s my booking agent.
Empress K What do you have for upcoming shows?
Khari Kill: Well I just came off some shows in California. I’m being blessed this year coming. I have not been able to travel for the last three years out of America so that is why I have not been able to do any European, Costa Rican and African shows that are waiting for me. In February / March I’ll be blessed with my wings again as I call it so I’ll be able to fly again and do these international shows next year. And I will be doing shows at the end of January with JahDan BlakkaMoore for a tour on the West Coast.
Empress K: Thanks for your time today. I look forward to seeing you on tour soon. You spoke about the positive message in your music. is there an additional message that you would like to share with your fans and supporters.
Khari Kill: As tough as it is , just know that you are not alone and hold on to any struggles. That’s the message I would like people to hear.
Contact Khari Kill at KhariKill@gmail.com and follow him online