Artist Spotlight: Khaki

 

Khaki is a 20 year-old hip hop artist, Baylor student, artist, and writer from Austin, Texas with so much story to tell. Currently working on an album, writing three TV shows and penning two books, we were really glad that he took the time to sit and talk with us.

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Khaki:

“I made a decision to never take down stuff I've put out on SoundCloud that's really bad, because I think people need to see it.”

KWL:

The growth?

Khaki:

Yeah, people need to see it. I follow Chance the Rapper a lot and you really get to see his growth all through SoundCloud and now making major music. And I think it's a really warming moment when I go back and see who he used to be, because I feel like I'm a part of it.

KWL:

Is there a story behind the name ‘Khaki?’

Khaki:

I started as ‘Khaki Boy’ and I think two songs in, I was like, I can't keep calling myself Khaki Boy. I think, because I'm a dreamer, I saw so much potential. I was like, I can't ... I don't want to be fifty and still be ‘Khaki Boy.’ That just didn't feel right. If I drop to Khaki now, it's a little easier.

There is the definition that khakis are made by their stitching and not by their color.


People often think that ‘khaki’ is this specific tan and this specific brown, but it's really the stitching, the thing that makes it what it's made from, that defines it. And so that's kind of like the shimmering definition of my artistry.


KWL:

So where and when did you first start getting into music?

Khaki:

I got into music in middle school when I took choir as an elective. And while I enjoyed it, I really enjoyed the performance side of it and kind of just sat through the choral stuff. But in high school, we had a glee choir and it was our show choir that did pop music and it was all acapella. But the best part was that we did a lot of dancing, and had Broadway dancers and stuff. So, I auditioned for that, got in, was glee captain senior year. That was when I really started making and recording music. I was writing songs and that sort of thing, but none of it stayed on paper and then it eventually stuck. Khaki was created. This was just last year.

KWL:

We get a lot of very specific early 90s hip hop vibe, from your style.

Khaki:

Yeah. My biggest inspiration, as a person, was Will Smith because I was like seven, and my mom had the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on. And so I binged the entire show in one summer. I just fell in love with him. He was just the coolest thing I knew.

You know, he was just hip and he also made music on the side and once I learned that, I would listen to his music and watch the show and it was a big deal. And so I think that's one of the biggest inspirations for my fashion, for even my song topics. Just because he was a cool guy that I respected, but he also wasn't aggressive, and he wasn't hard. That wasn't his topic.

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KWL:

So if we were to open your Spotify or Soundcloud, what would we find there?

Khaki:

Recently, a lot of J. Cole, Frank Ocean, a lot of Childish, and Jaden Smith. Recently, way too much Tyler the Creator, but only Flower Boy, not any of the other stuff. Literally just Flower Boy.

KWL:

Stuck on it.

Khaki:

Stuck on it. Rex Orange County. Rex Orange County got me through the summer, man. It really, I don't know what it was, but it was one of the most beautiful summers, but also dark. It's a really cool story when you have time. It's an amazing story of how the summer built into the album, and it's like this transitional slope. But, Rex Orange County, man. It's so beautiful.



KWL:

So we have been jamming your song Plus Four.

Khaki:

I really wanted to make a song that just felt really fun. I had just a great time with some friends two nights before and I wanted to capture how happy that was. So, I just had this beat that I listened to for months and didn't know what I wanted to rap onto it because the beat was so happy, that I didn't want to suppress how good it was. You know? And so, when I went into the studio and I put it on, I literally just started talking about what happened. And the rest of it just kind of came from it so I didn't follow a structure, I guess.

There's a few songs on the album that are very emotionally heavy and so, the most recent SoundCloud stuff has been the polar opposite because I kind of have to step out of it to go back into it the same, instead of getting tired of what I'm working on.

KWL:
I get that. Which is a great segue into ‘India’.

(Note: The song says “India, I am so India” in order to sound like “I am so into ya.”)

Khaki:

India. India. I've been practicing that phrase since senior year of high school because I was listening to this beat but not actually recording anything. This tells you how long I've been wanting to be a rapper. I wrote ‘India’ senior year of high school. I just totally forgot about it and it came back to me in a memory. I was like “India, I think that I am India.” And I was like whoa, and my heart broke a little bit and I was like “I have to do this.” And so the song, it was some of the best two and a half hours, because I needed to get that out. It was-

KWL:

Cathartic.

Khaki:

The fruit was so ripe that it was just ready to be produced.

KWL:

I love that. So, you seem to have a lot of passions. What all do you create?

Khaki:

I am a writer. I am working on three TV shows and two books.

KWL:

You said two books?

Khaki:

Yeah. Because writing was the thing that got me into theater. I started as a theater major and did way too much of that in high school. But I got into that because I have these stories that I've been writing. I'm taking this drawing class, but I'm not a great drawer, but I really want to get better at it because I have some comic frames that I want to create for this story called Blinks. And it's a big part of my time because I love it.

KWL:

So, what are some future projects you're working on?

Khaki:

I'm working on an album right now that should be coming out in the late fall. Then I'm working on an EP with a friend, Cavalier, he's a rapper from Frisco. He went to Baylor as well.

YOU CAN FOLLOW KHAKI ON INSTAGRAM AT @KHAKI_CREATIONS OR ON SOUNDCLOUD HERE.


Croft Manor by Cavalier feat. Khaki, CENSORED dialogue, SpacemanSlim, & PeytonWoods dropped on 4/29.
Check it out below!


@Cavalier.Global
@Khaki_Creations
@thatisnothowyoupronounceit
@Censoredialogue
@Spaceman.Slim