True lyricism is not a talent that you can practice and get good at with time. It’s a gift that many rappers desire, but few possess. We could sit here and run down the names of all the true lyricist of the game but we all know who they are. I’d rather that we get acquainted with a new lyrical assassin. Some of you may be unfamiliar with him at the moment, but trust you’ll soon know the name, Kaj Kadence. Coming out of Fayetteville, NC, listening to his rhymes makes you wonder if there is something in the water down there that produces lyricist or is it the harsh realities of life that brings forth the gems in his rhymes. I got an opportunity to chat with Kaj to find out for myself.
Tony Delerme: Who is Kaj Kadence?
Kaj Kadence: Kaj Kadence is confident and humble, fearless but introverted, energetic and mellow, a realist and a dreamer, but most importantly a believer in nothing being absolute and everything being possible.
Tony Delerme: How was life before rap music?
Kaj Kadence: Life was simple but empty. I was looking for my purpose and found it in music.
Tony Delerme: What inspired you to start rapping?
Kaj Kadence: I felt people were putting less and less feeling, emotion and authenticity into their music. As a result of that I started falling out of love with music. That in combination with my family’s musical background gave me the courage to enter the pipe dream.
Tony Delerme: Who were you favorite rappers growing up?
Kaj Kadence: Biggie, Jay-z, Nas, and Big-L just to name a few.
Tony Delerme: Given that you rep Fayetteville, is there any added pressure on you to lyrically preform given the man that put Fayetteville on the map, J. Cole, is arguably the best in the game lyrically?
Kaj Kadence: The pressure is definitely there, but it also stems from my will to be the best at everything I try. There is also pressure to maintain a certain quality in my music. The craft means everything. Shout out to Cole for fulfilling his mission.
Tony Delerme: How has the rap scene in Fayetteville changed since J. Cole blew up?
Kaj Kadence: Overall the rap scene is the same as in any location. But the dream appears realistic now and also garners more listeners to local artist because “one of us made it”
Tony Delerme: Most artists, like yourself, who rap on the “conscious” side, tend to run away from the “conscious rapper” label. Does it bother you at all when people label you that?
Kaj Kadence: It doesn’t bother me because I’m confident in my ability to execute in any form and on any topic as an artist and not just a conscious rapper… I refuse to be boxed in.
Tony Delerme: Also, a lot of rappers who people do consider “conscious”, at one point in their early career weren’t so conscious and rapped about” holdin’ pistols”, being a “real nigga” and things of that nature. Did you go through that faze?
Kaj Kadence: Negativity is poisonous even if it is true. From day one I strived to use my talents to speak on other issues and ideals.
Tony Delerme: Prior to your debut mixtape, Flat Tops and Flows, you put out the Weapons of Mass Creation series. Why don’t you consider those as your first three official mixtapes?
Kaj Kadence: The WMC series was an introduction of Kaj to the world. Unlike a full tape, the EPs were not necessarily conceived as cohesive, storytelling works of art. They were just raw, uncut, and uncensored Kaj. My EPs represent my playground where I can be myself without expectations that full mixtapes or albums present.
Tony Delerme: What was the writing process behind Flat Tops and Flows?
Kaj Kadence: Uninfluenced, I used the “don’t think just do” method and just let the feelings and ideas flow.
Tony Delerme: My favorite song on FT&F is “What You’ve Become”. Where were you mentally when you came up with the concept for that song?
Kaj Kadence: I was frustrated with the idea that we “owe” the world answers as to who we are, what we have, what we’ve done and who we know. These things are not nearly as important as who one has become.
Tony Delerme: Who are the MainstreamRejeX and what’s with the flat tops?
Kaj Kadence: MainstreamRejeX represent a group of talented hard working individuals as cliché as it sounds. We love the craft. We love the expression. We love hip hop. We all represent different lanes of hip hop however we all promised to never “sell out” and compromise our craft. The flat tops are homage to the era that shaped the world as we know it. Over time it developed to represent my style that is Flat Tops and Flows
Tony Delerme: Are you looking for a label deal from a major or are you content with staying independent, given that indie is the new way to go.
Kaj Kadence: Independent is definitely the way to go for reasons beyond this interview however I am not one to say screw the labels because the universe has a funny sense of humor. There are very few executives/labels that can afford my passion, potential, and brand. I value myself very high and I think my ever growing catalog will back up my beliefs.
Tony Delerme: What can we expect overall from Kaj in 2014?
Kaj Kadence: Progression, growth, and increase in exposure without losing quality of work.