Kaj Kadence
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Kaj Kadence

Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | SELF

Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2011
Solo Hip Hop




"The Winners for Week 12 of the This Is My Year Fan-Challenge Are..."

The Winners for Week 12 of the This Is My Year Fan-Challenge Are...

Posted by Jade Carter

Jul 19, 2015 1:12:37 PM

Thanks for supporting your favorite up-and-coming hip-hop artists each week. We took a break to announce that heavy-hitters like Rakim, Jean Grae, Pharaohe Monch, Cyhi the Prynce and hundreds more will be on stage at the 2015 A3C Festival & Conference. Well, voting for "This Is My Year" week 12 has ended. With your help, we have picked many artists to perform this October in Atlanta, GA... and we are still going! Stay tuned for the next 6 contenders to be announced tomorrow afternoon!

Week 12's winners are... Doorway of St. Louis, IL and Kaj Kadence of Fayetteville, NC! - A3C Festival and Conference

"Kaj Kadence-Q&A Interview"

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? How long have you been making Hip Hop?

My name is Kaj Kadence and I am 23. Kaj Kadence stands for smooth rhythm (cashmere cadence). I am of Haitian decent and I grew up in Brooklyn, NY. My father is active military so I attended high school and currently reside in Fayetteville, NC. I chose to dabble in hip hop sometime in 2010 while attending a small private college-Campbell University but chose it as career in 2011 after meeting my business partner and executive producer Sean Shores, who musically is best described as my Quincy Jones.

What influences you in making Hip Hop?

I am influenced by the memories I have which are linked to songs or videos I experienced as a child and teenager. I love reminiscing about older hip hop cuts or those viral hits you can never forget. I also like how one can grow with Hip Hop. An artist’s bars can mean so much more to you as you develop, mature and experience life. I hope to create that for generations to come.

Describe your music, and what separates you from other MCs?

My music is best described as true modern Hip Hop. I show glimpses of the golden era, braggadocio rap found in the late 90s-2000s and sometimes I sprinkle some southern trap but overall it is something that young, old and regionally biased can enjoy without it seeming like a gimmick or restricted to a certain lane. I represent a mix of New York and southern rapper who sometimes like to dream about a west coast lifestyle which makes for an appealing product that I never have to force.
I never set out to make a theme track (i.e. club or backpacker song) or have issues writing to any type of production. I also can take credit for writing my own music and hooks which is an extremely important skill set to possess when building a real connection with supporters. I believe in making music that can fulfill a listeners appetite for multiple listens. Through my ability to structure songs and verses with double or triple entendres you can listen and always catch new lines or concepts. I am trying to perfect the art of dumbing down which actually requires the highest level of talent ( I will let that sink in).

Who have you collaborated with? Who would you like to collab with in the near future?

I generally don’t collab due to my level of passion and talent. It is very hard to find many unknown artist that actually can make good music. On the flip side, most artist don’t approach me for a feature because of my abilities (I don’t condone suicide missions either) and/or lack of exposure. That being said, that doesn’t mean you have to be the next GOAT but just have the love for the culture to make a quality product in whatever lane you represent. When I do collab I choose to do so with my collective known as the MainstreamRejeX and a few others.
As far as the near future I definitely want to collab with the artist that come from where I’m currently positioned like Sundown of Actual Proof, Ab Soul, Currensy, Mac Miller, Wiz, Joey Badass, Action Bronson and Ed Sheeran to name a few.
Side note I have a collaborative EP with Denzil Porter coming this year which should be an experience based on our talent levels and current place in music. He is really holding it down in New York.

Your definition of “Underground Hip Hop”?

I define Underground Hip Hop as the art form in the rawest stage. The underground is where you find the artist who are experimenting with their sound and genuinely making music to be heard. The Underground is where artist endure the gauntlet with hopes of gaining a true following and a shot at a “legit” career. It is also a state of mind that is enclosed by financial constraints as well as lack of widespread exposure.

Production wise, who are your influences? Who does your production? And who would you like to work with?

I look to the likes of Pete Rock, J. Dilla, Kanye, Just Blaze, Pharrell and Heatmakerz to keep it short.
I use an unconventional method to assemble production. I utilize Casino Nick and World$eries who have placements with Yo Gotti and ASAP Nast respectively which is ironic if you listen to my music. I recently added two upstarts, one out of South Africa by the name of Gobi and another by the name of Ty Sco who is from NC. We set out to create a diverse production team to keep it refreshing and organic. Special thanks to Nabeyin, Marlon Colimon and Commissioner Gordon by the way.
I would like to work with anyone that can properly mix the boom bap with the bounce while staying original and true to self, known or unknown.

Any current or future projects you are promoting?

I (we) released ‘Studio 68′ February 24, 2015 and prior to that ‘Bragg BLVD’ in November of 2014. I’m in a new creative space so my productivity is at an all time high-look for a new full project in June of 2015 which is yet to be titled.

Can you give us a brief description of the creative process of Mixtape STUDIO 68? Also/ tell us a little bit about the concept and idea behind your Album/Mixtape Cover Art.

As I stated earlier Sean is my creative partner. He allows me to exist outside of my own creative process and knock down any walls that we as artist often unintentionally build. We came together sometime in December of 2014 and started throwing ideas around for a mixtape to set the pace for our 2015. We agreed it was time to make a mixtape for myself as well as the group of supporters that stand behind me. Self happiness is the most important thing in the world if you plan on providing happiness to others which is the ultimate goal of any artist. I wanted to use the studio to directly speak about the pressures an underground artist faces such as releasing projects without a following or people not viewing a rap career as an obtainable goal. I also felt it was important to let the game know I’m coming and no amount of hype can replace true talent and versatility. I may have previously created one or two songs but overall I wrote and recoded the tape in a month while we experienced life confined to the studio.
The cover art is actually homage to the duplex we converted from living quarters to a fully functioning studio. It’s something that I can always look back on and remember where I come from. It was created by my graphic designer Ivan Sanchez aka illstrations based out of Houston, TX.

Where can we find your music and info?

My mixtapes can be found via AudioMack

All EPs and singles via SoundCloud

Videos and Vlogs

iTunes, Spotify, Beats Music, JAY Z’s new Hi Fi streaming service Tidal and the Kaj Kadence station on Pandora are all additional options to hear my music.
Follow me @KajKadence

Any shout outs?

First shout out to UGHHBLOG for being the first blog to show love and document a Kaj interview! Much love to anyone that supports me or any underground artist. Shout out to my team and Sean Shores he is truly Barry Gordy to the streets. Ivan, Pres, Supr, Joe, Blizzy, Rich, Jefe, Don Don, Frank and anyone from Fayetteville, Raleigh and Brooklyn that stands behind my brand. Lastly, special shoutout to Team Backpack! - Underground Hip Hop Blog

"Listen Up: Music hobby turns into career for rapper Kaj Kadence"

By Mike McCray
Staff writer

For rapper Kaj Kadence, there just aren't enough hours in the day.

If balancing the full-time demands of a burgeoning rap career with the rigors of school weren't bad enough, the 20-year-old Jack Britt High graduate also is adjusting to a new city, Charlotte.

April is set to be a big month for the rapper, who was born Kevin Michel in Brooklyn, N.Y.

First there is his EP, "Boom Bap," expected to drop in early April. Then, at the end of the month, his mix tape "Express Lane" is set for release.

Just over a year ago, rap was only a hobby for Kadence and his friends at Campbell University.

He was a little reluctant to rap at the time, but he had always been around music.

Kadence relocated to Fayetteville in middle school with his military father - 1st Sgt. Dominique Michel - who brought along his vinyl collection of nearly 10,000 records he'd amassed as a DJ.

"He's definitely one of the biggest influences in my music, even to this day," Kadence said of his father. "I mean, he's always in it, and I'm in it, and that's because of him."

But even with music a constant in his home, his performance history before taking the stage at SoundFest in Raleigh consisted of JROTC drill competitions in high school.

"It's like I walked on stage, then I walked off stage. It's like my mind went blank," Kadence said of SoundFest.

But his performance was solid.

Since then, he's gone on to perform at Shakedown Street in Raleigh, CIAA tournament weekend in Charlotte and just recently a Notorious B.I.G. tribute show in Brooklyn.

He admits the culture shock of moving to the South took a while for him to get used to, but he's done well coupling his influences from home with what he's learned in North Carolina.

"I definitely love what Carolina has instilled in me," said Kadence. "I show love for both. I don't think it would be fair for me not to show love to Carolina."

He recently received high praise from Grammy Award-winning producer 9th Wonder, a North Carolinian, who took to Twitter to tell the world how much he enjoyed his music.

Kadence described that as "a very humbling experience."

"It was very moving and very motivational," he said. "It kind of inspired me to push harder and take more pride in my work because some people take music like it's not serious but ... it's a job. A full-time job. And it made me realize that even more, and your hard work pays off."

Kadence - who boasts a musical mantra of "Brooklyn bred, Carolina fed" - is happy to see the hard work of artists such as J. Cole changing the tide of Southern rap music.

"Usually it was just a lot of trap music and things like that, and now I'm starting to see a lot more people add substance to their music," he said. "That's definitely something that I believe Cole put on the map."

These days, Kadence is plugging away at his own dreams. Determined to finish school, he weathers the hamster wheel of classes and music with a smile.

"It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, but I love every second of it," Kadence said.

Between music and school, he admits he doesn't leave his new apartment as much as he should. He tries to squeeze into his schedule the now-frequent requests for collaborations.

"I've got so many ideas, so many things I want to do, but there's not enough time in the day," Kadence said.

He isn't planning an easy route to success.

"A lot of people aren't really planting their foot in the ground and setting their goals," Kadence said. "My main goal and my main focus through my music is to educate, and I feel like a lot of times mainstream music is just going after your pockets."
- The Fayetteville Observer

"Artist Breakdown- TuneCore Live"

With the help of Swisher Sweets, we’ve rounded up an amazing line-up of hip hop artists, and this is sure to get packed, so get there early! If you’re heading down to A3C next week and want to come mingle with TuneCore (and see amazing live music), familiarize yourself after the jump, and we’ll see you down there. - TuneCore


Flat Tops and Flows (October 15,2013) http://www.audiomack.com/album/kaj-kadence/flat-tops-and-flows
Unsigned, Digital Download
Bragg BLVD (November 11, 2014) http://www.audiomack.com/album/kaj-kadence/bragg-blvd
Unsigned, Digital Download
Studio 68 (February 24, 2015) http://www.audiomack.com/album/kaj-kadence/studio-68
Unsigned, Digital Download



Kevin Michel, or “Kaj Kadence” is a Haitian- American rapper, songwriter and video director. Kaj Kadence has been active since 2011 and released his first official mixtape in 2013. He heavily focuses on his lyrical “wordplay” and he hopes to modernize the essence of the genre . Kaj cites his musical influences as names such as, the late great B.I.G, Jay Z, Nas, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kaj Kadence could not escape the eclectic r musical landscape that engulfs the region. He is also very prideful of his heritage. Both of his parents were born in Haiti“ and he grew up playing multiple instruments.” Now at the age of 24, he is currently residing in Fayetteville, North Carolina.