Less than five months after the release of his first major mixtape “Caviar Dreams,” local rapper and former Virginia Tech student Killa J made the next major step forward in his career today, releasing his new mixtape “A1.”
According to Killa J’s manager and Tech senior Matt Folkemer, “Caviar Dreams” has been downloaded almost 20,000 times. The buzz for “A1” had launched before the release with a promotional video on WorldStarHipHop.com that already has more than 50,000 views.
After recording “Caviar Dreams” in North Carolina, Killa J, whose real name is Kenneth Harkness, made five trips with his production team to Baltimore to record “A1” in WrightWay Studios. The opportunity to record in the studio emerged out of relationships built with rappers Sean Hayz and Los, who has recently signed with Diddy’s Bad Boy Records.
In the process of commuting from Blacksburg to Baltimore, Killa J’s team went to great lengths to produce the mixtape. They would leave Blacksburg at 9 p.m. on a Friday, arrive in Baltimore at about 2 a.m. and only sleep from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
Each studio session lasted from noon to midnight. Immediately after the session, it was time to head home so those who had work the following morning could arrive on time.
With 18 tracks on “A1,” Killa J built upon previous connections while making new ones to assemble a number of established rappers who are featured, including Los, Phile Ade, Crooked I, Sean Hayz and Rockie Fresh. Killa J was also determined to make several improvements on "A1," compared to “Caviar Dreams.”
“There are better beats, better sound quality, lyrics and features. I really think I stepped up the flow as well,” Killa J said.
As Killa J continues to tirelessly promote his name, others have taken notice. On HotNewHipHop.com, he has upgraded his artist status from "up-and-coming" to "mainstream." As a result, he is now able to track all of his numbers on the site in terms of views and downloads. Currently, his page on the site has more than 115,000 views.
“When it comes to promoting, we really tried to build connections on ‘Caviar Dreams’ and then build from there,” Folkemer said. “We already had a relationship with DatPiff.com and HotNewHipHop.com.”
As part of his creative process, Killa J said he would listen to a beat, then generate lyrics for it.