Khan Job: The Cool Man of Soul Speaks

| by RefinedHype

By ThroatChopU

I don’t sing. I don’t rhyme. I can’t produce tracks. I’m often the only non-rapper in a room. But I’ve always had an ear for good music and because of that, folks have respected my honest opinion. I don’t hold back. I’m also a fan of music. I actually remember when that meant something. RefinedHype has given me the opportunity to showcase a dope artist weekly, someone who is on the rise that has caught my ear and that you should definitely check out. This is "Return of The Real". Chea!

6:30 am. The horns blow and then the beat drops. It took Soul Khan 23 years to write this verse. He felt the sum of all fears in a lightening burst. He was shaking at the window like Pookie with a pipe, but there ain’t no director when the movie is your life.

In a verse, Soul Khan had arrived.

The Brooklyn emcee by way of LA, and member of the Hip-Hop group Brown Bag AllStars, may be best known for his time on the battle circuit including Grindtime and Smack URL. But Soul Khan is more than just a battle rapper. He’s more of an artist in transition, going from that battle world that knows him well, to a bona fide emcee, and he’s bringing both the fans and doubters along for the ride.

You can call it a pun-filled-witty-based-reality-rhyme-type-of-ride. And with his raspy almost hard to describe yet distinct voice in tow, it’s guaranteed to be unique trip. So, buckle up.

I had heard of and seen the folklore that had surrounded Soul Khan’s battle days but it was the artist who I stumbled on late last year. I immediately gravitated towards the sound he was creating. However, I truly became a fan after catching a live performance.

It was mid-November and the Fat Beats alum was rocking at a showcase in Brooklyn that I was helping to organize. There he stood in a dark corner of the basement in Southpaw’s Down South space surrounded by a few of his BBAS brethren waiting to take the stage. I remember someone saying to me, “Q, don’t let the science teacher look fool you”, as he stood in a wool blazer and collared shirt. That day he had just released his debut Soul Like Khan project and folks had come out to see him. When he finally took to the stage, he commanded the audience and tore it down.

I’ve been rocking with Soul Khan ever since.

I guess it was that same unassuming demeanor that allowed him to destroy competition during his battle run across the US, Canada and even London to complete. He’s like that animal in the wild that you don’t know is a killer until he sets out on attack mode. And every time a beat drops, whether a solo joint or a posse cut, Soul Khan definitely goes into attack mode and destroys. And as his stock and buzz continues to rise, he moves further and further away from the battle rapper and more into the role of a talented artist creating some solid music along the way and truly coming into his own.

There’s a good chance no matter how hard you look, you’ll probably never find another Soul like Khan. And that’s cool with him.

I recently reached out to Soul Khan and we talked about the origin of his name, his current and future projects and the impact he wants to have on his audience, among other things. Check out our interview.

Soul Khan

ThroatChopU: I've always been curious. How'd you come to the name Soul Khan?

Soul Khan: I was dubbed that by the Queen of England, and by that, I mean the band, Queen.

ThroatChopU: (Laughs) So, there's a lot of cookie cutter rap folks putting out music right now, with a desire to sound like someone else. In my opinion, you don't sound like anyone else, from both a content standpoint and your actual voice. How did you find yourself with the sound you've created?

Soul Khan: A lot of it was trial and error, trying to find the words and style to capture the feelings I had to imbue in the music. Once I found that, I ran with it, but I still approach every song with a great deal of doubt and anxiety because I really want it to impress the listeners and give them something that lasts.

ThroatChopU: I read that you were writing and recording music prior to the battle rap. Do you think that your battling persona has in a way overshadowed you as an artist?

Soul Khan: It has and it does in some arenas, which is why I am giving up battling for the foreseeable future.

ThroatChopU: We’ve heard you say you’re out before. Is it safe to say you're kind of like the Brett Favre of battle rap in that you only semi retire?

Soul Khan: Nope, I am completely done with it. The only condition under which I will return to battling is if I am nominated for a Grammy in the next two years. Of course, I may never be that successful, but I would have to feel like I have completely overcome the general stigma of having been a battle rapper before I even think of ever doing it again. I am grateful for what battling did for me but I would be doing myself a disservice as an artist by continuing with it.

ThroatChopU: I definitely respect that. So, it took you a while to put out Soul Like Khan. I know you mentioned that the battling hindered getting it done. The title track is one of my favorite cuts. Where in the process did you complete that and how important to you is the content of that track to the project?

Soul Khan: That song is about as soul-baring [pause?] as I can get on a song about my personal life in such detail, so it was certainly a vital part of the project. I actually wrote it long before the album dropped, though, but I just never had a place for the track until Soul Like Khan came together as a project.


From RefinedHype.com