This past week Monday, we sat down with Khadan aka Young Souljah and his brother, Koolage Da Lyricist. We talked about music, their label and the coming mixtapes. Make sure you check out the full interview to hear their tracks and when their mixtapes are dropping.
RN: Reggae In NYC
KH: Khadan aka Young Souljah
KO: Koolage Da Lyricist
RN: The single “Love Letta” is out now, how has the feedback to that been?
KH: I can't complain about the feedback, a lot of people like it. They could also relate to it, mostly girls, but even guys like the song. If it sound good to guys and girls, that’s a good thing. That’s even a plus for me, because I did it for both genders.
RN: How did that song come about? Did you have your heart broken?
KH: No, it had nothing to do with my heart being broken. I was just reminiscing about a girl, and then I thought about some words just like this “write you a love letta.” So when I found the beat, it sounded smooth to the beat. So I continued writing the song, finished it in one day. The next week I went to studio, then I started promoting it.
RN: You started out as a solo artists, Khadan doing reggae and Koolage Da Lyricist with some hip hop influences. Tell me about that?
KO: A lot of versatility, I consider myself as a musician, not just an artist. Meaning that, if you bring a jazz tape to me, I’m supposed to do something to that jazz music right here. Any genre of music I feel like I am supposed to do something on it. If I am a musician, I can’t limit myself to just reggae, it is supposed to be bigger than that. That’s how I feel about myself with this music. You can expect anything from Koolage, anything. You are supposed to do it comfortable, doing reggae right now is Khadan comfort zone, but if he's ready to cross over it needs to be he'll have to be comfortable. You can’t just cross over into Hip Hop if your not feeling it, because people won’t feel it. Get your practice from now and be the best you can be.
RN: Now have a new project G.F.G.N.C.? What does that stand for?
KO: Grime Family Gang Never Change. Basically when we say grime, its not like being grimey to people, it's just hard life. The families stick through the hard life and the C is for, we will never change, no matter how big we get. No matter how much money we get, we will keep that unity from when we were hungry. Tightness, oneness, togetherness, that’s the definition of G.F.G.N.C.
RN: I know you are brothers is there anyone else in the group besides you two?
KH: Yeah of course. We have Don Dre, Savvy Davvy, MJ, Steppa, Crusha, Marky, GunSmoke, & Rambo. Some ah the guys live here in New York, and some live in Jamaica. That explains the N and the C, we keep it that way so we'll never forget about it, or anything like that.
RN: Is this project a label representing multiple artists or a larger group?
KO: No, it's more like a label, you can do whatever you want to do. If you want to do a song by yourself, you can go and do what you do. The group that we set is like every man is their own king, every man is their own leader. Even if they select one person as the leader, say for instance they select me as the leader, I never act like the leader. I’m just a simple guy, because if you select me leader, I’m not going to be on you all the time, because you know what you are supposed to do as a man. I don’t want no contention or anything like that.
You can't call yourself a leader, you have to be chosen. The fact that someone choose you to be a leader, you cannot be a leader where you are always on somebody, where I am always on you, pushing you, but at the same time I am annoying you. I want you to understand that you are your own leader, your own king. If you have something you want to talk to me about, you can come talk to me about it. We can find an answer for it, the direction that we need to go. That’s the direction that I push this to go. Too many times you have a leader in the group, and it doesn't go anywhere because egos start to reflect. If Khadan comes up with an idea, he’s the leader of that idea, and I follow. Because this is your idea right now, I have trust for you, I have respect for you. I am going to follow your idea, let’s see where it takes us. That's the way I push the group, there is not one leader.
RN: When can we expect an album out from GFGNC?
KO: As for me I am definitely working on the mixtape. The mixtape is called Pluto Station:The Difference Mixtape. I probably built that
thing 16 times. It’s like every time I make that mixtape I listen to it and I’m like, “no this is not it”. I am creating this mixtape to bring it to Jamaica, to really make some noise, to get it off the ground. That’s why I build it so much. But the name of it is called, Pluto Station: The Difference Mixtape.
KH: I have a mixtape coming out soon, hopefully in July. It's gonna be called Young SoulJah Mixtape.
KO: But we have a lot of projects coming out, Savvy Davvy have a hit single called “Big Jiggy Nigga”, and you got EKO and Savvy Davvy with their next single called “Major Leage”, that one deh bad. Then you have Squeeze Dinero with a next single called “Dougin”, which he call “my youngin’”, these guys are rappers, but they also speak fluent Jamaican. Its crazy stuff. Our music just sounds new. It sounds
KH: All of our voices are different, we don’t copy no one. This is us, brand new thing.
RN: They call you Young Souljah and Koolage Da Lyricist how did you get those names?
KH: Me a go first man, I used to do work for my father. I used to do plumbing. I worked with these dudes and they used to call me “Thugy”. “Thugy get me this, Thugy get that for me” and then after a while them call me “Young SoulJah”. Then Derrick said, "use the stage name Young SoulJah". Me say you know what, me ah think bout that, so when I thought about it, it sounded nice. Khadan aka Young SoulJah. That’s how I found my nickname, but Khadan is my actual name.
KO: As for me now I will let you be the judge, you tell me what you think about this, (Koolage Freestyles 32 bars). So just by spitting these bars, people start to say “hey you know what, you are not just Koolage you got to put da lyricist on it”. But the name Koolage comes from my personality, I’m a cool person, but yet humble. Even though I’m lethal with the bars you would never know.
Because I will just sit there and let you run your mouth, but when it's game time you know we don't play.
RN: Khadan, you say that you were inspired to do music by your uncle, tell me about that?
KH: You know say, my uncle used to be a singer. A good singer at that, but he stopped. Now he's into acting. He used to go to the studio a lot and I would see him coming in late. He also makes beats, I really approve of them. He makes riddims and stuff, so some of the songs I do, i'll get the beats from him. I saw him doing it a lot, and he really likes his craft, and I really loved his music. So me say “you know what, I wanna do what my uncle does.” So I just followed in my uncle foot steps.
RN: Lets talk about some of the Khadan tracks. There is a good range of topics, with “Next Steps Ina Life” is a song about growing up and responsibility. You have “We are not Alone “is about carrying on as a youth and then party songs like “Turn up”. Tell me about how you write such a spectrum of music?
KH: You know say, personally at the age I am, because I am young, I’m just versatile. It's reality. When you go outside, and when you go
around certain people you have to see wah gwan in the real world. Most of the time I'm not home, I go out pon di road, because wah..Me is a youth from the streets, you understand. So when me outside I observe everything and soak it in. For explain me a read a new book, and me no know that word yet, me still soak it in. One time me learn a new word, and put it ina one song.
KO: The reason why you don’t really see any music on the internet from Koolage Da Lyrist is because I tend to stay off the internet a lot. I
don't want unwanted attraction. I have crazy music, like a whole library full of music. People hit me up with all different type of offers, and I don’t know where to go. Right now I’m just trying to focus on the statement. That’s why you don’t find anything on me when you search, but I have so much music. They tell me to drop music all the time.
RN: How would you describe your style of reggae to fans that have never heard you before?
KO: It's kinda hard to describe my style. I just let the people describe it for me. But I know when you hear it, your gonna tell me you have never heard nothing like that before.
KH: Young SoulJah, I mean, me no cocky, I just let the people hear my music, and let them give me their honest opinion. They'll say “do it over” or “Khadan I really like this one”. Sometimes people are just surprised, because they didn't except something that good. Most of the songs I did, I wrote myself, sometimes I might get help from my bredren.
RN: What reggae is playing in your ipod?
KH: I listen to a lot of Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Super Cat, and Spragga Benz. Also a lot of Buju Banton, Bounty Killer and Masicka. Oh, and we can’t forget Sizzla Kalonji, that’s what me wake up to, that and Buju.
KO: I am just going to name you five because this could take all day bro. The first I’m going to go with is Nas. I have to listen to Nas,
as I wake up, Nas in my ears. After that I go straight to Chronixx, then Busy Signal, Mavado and Vybz Kartel. If I have a little longer
schedule in the day I'll play, Popcaan and Masicka, that’s about it, But Busy Signal is my idol, but I don’t listen to him early in the
morning, when I get up, you have to warm up to that.
You can find Khadan live next Tuesday, June 28th. At Blackthorn 51 for The Official Power Is Industry. You can also follow him on Instagram @Khadan_ and on Facebook @Khadan Sinclair.