King Khazm
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King Khazm


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The best kept secret in music


"Hip-Hopping to the Forefront"

In Brooklyn hip-hopper Jeru the Damaja's 1996 album, he said, "Organizational skills kill more devils than bullets." It is an important sentiment in a generation suffused with hip-hop culture.

Social organization and movement are fundamental to the hip-hop lifestyle. And through hip-hop, many in our generation learn the principles important in building a better society.

Princeton University Professor Cornel West, speaking in Seattle last month, declared hip-hop the most creative breakthrough in popular culture in the past 35 years.

Besides bringing rap to the forefront of today's artistic landscape, hip-hop distinguished itself early on as a tool for social change. Not only did it give the less-privileged a forum to speak their mind, it made the rest of the nation want to listen.

Hip-hop culture is at the forefront of many social movements in the U.S. and abroad.
For example, Public Enemy founder and legendary hip-hopper Chuck D is on a nationwide tour promoting social reform. Get-out-the-vote registration campaigns are at nearly every hip-hop event. And overseas, a Burmese hip-hop group was recently detained for a week by the Burmese Military Intelligence for allegedly distributing political songs.
West stated it is no accident that young people have shaped so much of the social motion in the last decade. Like the Black Panthers taught something to the NAACP, he says, the hip-hop youth culture has something to teach older generations.

West cited early 20th-century social critic Randolph Borne, who noted that youths are always the vanguard for social movements in America.

Here in Seattle, hip-hopper Khazm heads up the Seattle Chapter of the Universal Zulu Nation, a group devoted to promoting hip-hop awareness, and is co-founder of MADK Productions.

Khazm says since its inception in the 1970s, hip-hop has spread like wildfire because of a need for a positive outlet for angst and struggle.

"It came from hardship, the struggle faced by teens, youngsters, folks who needed a positive outlet," he said. "It's that essence which was so contagious — pure, honest and in your face. It was completely different from what was out there."

Included in Khazm's long list of contributions to Seattle's hip-hop community is his role in developing Brainstorm, Seattle's nationally known battle-rap competition. He also produced "Enter the Madness," the breakthrough documentary of Seattle hip-hop culture, and helped to create the weekly TV show "Hip-Hop 101," which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Seattle's public-access station.
Khazm says hip-hop breaks through the huge socioeconomic gaps in all of our communities.
"People in power are going to do whatever it takes to remain in power, and the people who are underprivileged are going to continue to struggle," he said. "Hip-hop is a way for the underprivileged to directly express what they think about certain issues."

One way that the powerful try to safeguard the status quo, he says, is to co-opt the revolutionary voices, the voices that encourage social change.

"All this 'bling-bling' stuff, yes, the industry harnesses pop rap," he said. "But there are so many people in hip-hop asking questions, questioning authority and the decisions being made."

Those in the movement recognize that trying to improve things, however, can be seen as problematic by those in authority.
"While you may not hear Public Enemy or Dead Prez on the radio because corporate America doesn't want you to hear it, they're making some noise," he said. "And so are a lot of others."

In organizing social movements, being aware and doing your homework are the first steps, he said.

"There's a personal component here: It's a matter of initiating something within yourself," Khazm said. "Or you can keep doing what you're doing — work your 9 to 5, go home, drink a beer, go to bed and do the same thing again."

Implicit in the idea of a democratic society is the notion that each member has a voice. We have something to say, and today, hip-hop is our voice.

While not the first youth-led social movement, hip-hop is the first of its kind. And its impact on American culture shows no signs of waning.
W. John Schroder is a second-year UW law student.
- The Seattle Times

"It Takes A Nation"

206 Zulu keeps the principles of hip-hop alive.
By Jonathan Cunningham
Published on February 10, 2009 at 8:57pm

Daniel Kogita doesn't look like your average hip-hop impresario. To some, his lack of jewels and braggadocio could easily suggest that he's not worth taking seriously in the world of rap. But what might not present itself at first glance is that the 30-year-old graffiti artist/producer/activist, who also goes by the name King Khazm, is the head of 206 Zulu, one of the Northwest's most respected hip-hop organizations. They're based in Beacon Hill and are the local chapter of the legendary Universal Zulu Nation, a grassroots hip-hop advocacy group first formed in the Bronx in 1974 by rap pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.

With 70-plus members, 206 Zulu is one of the most active and progressive chapters in the country (of roughly 15 to 20 nationwide). They've been at the forefront of using hip-hop as a vehicle for social change since 2004, when Kogita got Bambaataa's blessing to establish a Zulu chapter in Seattle. They've since put on workshops in several Seattle public schools, community centers, and juvenile detention facilities—anyplace that will have them, really—based on what 206 Zulu sees as the five elements of hip-hop: DJing, MCing, break dancing, graffiti writing, and knowledge of the culture itself.

Those aspects were the foundation of hip-hop 30 years ago, and to the purists, that's what keeps it strong. But as rap's popularity continues to skyrocket, these core elements are often overlooked. 206 Zulu wants to change that.

"It's real important to us to be visible in our communities and educate people on what hip-hop is all about," Kogita says during a recent chat at his Beacon Hill residence. "Especially among the young people [in Seattle], because kids are dying on these streets right now."

Fellow 206 Zulu member Kitty Wu, of the Internet television program Coolout TV, agrees. "We really want to reach kids of color that are having issues," she says. "We feel like some of the issues going on with gangs in the city could be fixed if kids were getting reached earlier, and we think that hip-hop could make a difference."

That's why, on a Thursday night, a group of roughly 30 members (who run the gamut from DJs, b-boys, and rappers to diehard fans) are piled up inside Hidmo, an Eritrean restaurant and community center in the Central District, discussing Zulu's fifth-anniversary party. Over Presidents' Day weekend, numerous all-ages shows are scheduled, as well as DJ classes, graffiti expositions, a film festival, and world-class break-dancing competitions. They're expecting upward of 2,000 attendees, many of whom will likely be teenagers and young adults.

"I'm hoping to see a lot of youth from the community come out for a bunch of free events and see all types of hip-hop elements that they might not typically be exposed to," says 36-year-old Alonzo Ybarra, a teacher at Middle College High School and a member of 206 Zulu. "Kids are going to get a chance to see some of the best break dancers in the world battle in the true essence of the art form. If kids in Seattle can come out and get inspired by that, it would mean a lot."

Jeff Clark is the principal at Seattle's Denny Middle School, where 206 Zulu works with students biweekly. "From what I've seen, they're really helping the kids develop their own voice through poetry and music," Clark says. "We've worked with them for over a year, and I think they've done an excellent job of showing students the positive side of hip-hop." Clark is also quick to mention that Zulu's program of setting students' poetry to music for a year-end compilation CD has helped with the school's literacy efforts.

That's good news to the founder of the Zulu Nation, who phoned from New York to express his support. "They're one of the greatest chapters that we have right now," Bambaataa says of 206 Zulu. "And I think it's because they're visible in the community spreading that fifth element—the knowledge. Anyone can deal with the other four elements, but [206 Zulu] has been strong with the knowledge part and keeping the culture alive." He also praised Kogita for organizing one of the most active chapters on the West Coast.

Kogita, who sits in a wheelchair as a result of a childhood car accident, is revered by fellow group members, and inside Hidmo, they're rapt by his every word. Considering hip-hop's at-times egotistical nature, it says a lot about the group's discipline that folks are willing to be led by an individual with a disability. 206 Zulu still has some gender issues as far as numbers go, but women play a big role in the organization.

"We may not always be the entertainers, but women are always going to be key within hip-hop community organizing," says member Julie Chang-Schulman. "Within our group, that's acknowledged."

For those interested in learning more about the organization, this weekend's events are the perfect place to begin. - The Seattle Weekly

"Zulu Nation offers rhymes, awareness"

by Corey Kahler, Contributing Writer
May 20, 2009

“People are watching from all over the world and they’re seeing that Seattle is where it’s happening.”

Daniel “King Khazm” Kogita doesn’t say this to boast. Shy, soft-spoken, and wheelchair bound since childhood, Khazm doesn’t boast about anything, but he’s been instrumental to the Seattle hip-hop scene, so he could if he liked. He’d rather talk about his community service and his music, which is obvious the moment you walk him in his home and see his awards and music studio.

“It’s in my nature to give,” again, not boasting, “I do it out of necessity.”

His outlet for giving is 206Zulu, a branch of hip-hop founder Afrika Bambaataa’s Universal Zulu Nation, a New York-based group that has striven for equality and empowerment, while advancing the elemental aspects of hip hop: deejaying, emceeing, b-boying/b-girling, graffiti and knowledge. The Seattle chapter founded by Khazm in 2004, which has grown to roughly 80 members, just celebrated its fifth anniversary with a hip-hop festival at the Seattle Center, featuring performances by local artists, graffiti exhibitions and a film showcase, all centered on hip-hop as a vehicle for positivity.

“I’d always been into hip hop and graffiti, but Bambaataa brought this whole other level of using music and art as a vehicle for social activism.”

This awareness has put Khazm deep into the Seattle community, performing at high schools with members of 206Zulu, holding panels at colleges, working in detention centers, and holding workshops on hip-hop. All of which have earned him a Mayor’s Award for Excellence and a Kingship Award from Zulu, usually reserved for members who have been with the organization for a minimum of three years. It’s an honor he earned within a year for his work.

“It’s difficult to just get around since I’m in a wheelchair, but people see me and are inspired, so that one bit of discomfort for me can help a person a lot,” he says.

Even before Zulu, Khazm made an impact with the 1998 documentary on the Pacific Northwest hip-hop scene, “Enter the Madness,” produced by himself and members of MAD Krew, a group that promoted and organized shows and events beginning in 1995. From there, Khazm and Krew began Hip-Hop 101, a locally syndicated television series that brings exposure to emerging artists. Aside from his video work, Khazm hosts a hip-hop showcase on 91.3 KCBS every Saturday night.

“Hip-hop allows people to educate themselves in any subject,” Khazm says. “It allows them to fight different issues, be involved in politics, and bring awareness on issues like youth violence.”

For Khazm, it’s even more personal.

“I left behind a whole section of my life surrounded by a lot of negativity. I’m biracial, disabled, and I was looking for a sense of identity. I’ve been able to overcome so much.”

The essence of these experiences has been distilled into Khazm’s next big achievement, the release of his first album, “Diary of a Mad,” this fall.

“It’s a concept album with boombastic rhythms,” he says simply.

He isn’t expecting a huge platinum release, but he does see his work as more politically conscious and outside the mainstream lyrically.

“There’s people who exploit ignorance and glamorize violence, sexism, and misogyny,” he says, adding, “They do hip-hop, but they don’t know the worldview.”

As a contrast, Khazm invokes his personal background. In the song “Dear Diary,” he looks deep into the frustrations of his own life and the release music has provided.

“Dear Diary, help relieve this pain inside of me / I’ve been taken hostage from madness silently. Jaded, I readjust my vision and see the beauty from within the soul that I’m living.”

Words like these demonstrate the background that he brings to his work at Zulu and the ideas that motivate the change he tries to bring in others. Khazm believes that art and music specifically improve lives in the community through this type of introspection.

“We get trapped in these daily cycles and we can break out if we become conscious. It’s all in your mind.”

Khazm isn’t resting on his accomplishments. Aside from his monthly meetings and work with 206Zulu, he has performances lined up at the Northwest Folklife Festival, Sun., May 24. He’s also looking toward the future of 206Zulu and hopes to see a stage in Seattle, specifically for hip-hop artists.

Until then, Khazm’s work with 206Zulu and his music can be followed on his website - Real Change News

"Hope For Youth"

Interview with Daniel “Khazm” Kogita
By Thomas Martinell 

     A new program has been introduced into local schools in the Seattle area. They include lessons in history, social studies, artistic self-expression and theories of social responsibility. These classes are offered by Seattle’s Hope for Youth program, a program that teaches youth about an important cultural movement that is often misrepresented in American pop culture and mainstream media.

     Leading the program is local hip-hop artist and community leader Daniel “Khazm” Kogita, who feels that Hip Hop is a culture that gives youth a positive outlet to express themselves. “Hip Hop culture is pure expression,” says Khazm. “It’s vivid, colorful, bright. You have no choice but to bear witness to it.” When asked what he felt was the significance of Hip Hop culture in America, Khazm expressed that it is “one of the most significant influences of the youth of this time. We need to preserve the essence of Hip Hop, it’s a rich culture that empowers people.” Khazm believes that with the preservation comes the education to speak about truth of Hip Hop. Khazm likes the Hope for Youth Program because it gives him the opportunity to work directly with the youth.

    Khazm started his involvement with Hip Hop culture in the area of visual arts, illustrations, and music as a young child. He claims that his involvement in art is what pulled him through the hard times. As he grew in years and in his artistic expression, Khazm came to help create a production company called MADK Productions, doing graphic design and making music, which he continues to this day. He also works with a community service program called Universal Zulu Nation, which organizes Hip Hop and multi-cultural and community events, canned food drives, mentoring, educational workshops and classes and benefit shows. In his involvement with both Mad Krew and Universal Zulu Nation, Khazm also hosts a radio show on KBCS 91.3 FM on Saturday nights (12-2am) and a variety show called Hip Hop 101 TV on cable channel 29/77 that broadcasts in Seattle every Friday night.    
Khazm’s path led him to the Hope for Youth Program when Alex Bautista of El Centro de la Raza, approached him at the Mañana Youth Conference in February of last year about doing a class through Hope for Youth. Alex attended a workshop given by Khazm at the conference and was so impressed that he wanted to bring Khazm’s knowledge and insights to Hope for Youth. The following November, Khazm started teaching classes on the history of Hip Hop culture in Ballard High School, Chief Sealth High School, B.O.C., and Denny Middle School. The classes started with the roots of Hip Hop and the conditions of what was happening in America at the time of its birth. Then they moved on to talking about the elements of deejaying, b-boying/b-girling, emceeing and then to talking about the industry and what Khazm describes as “the exploitation era.”  The class moved further into relating how Hip Hop developed into an international phenomenon and then took a step back into talking about the local Seattle Hip Hop communities.

    The current classes that Khazm teaches, along with local artists El Guanaco and Kwame Stephens-Morrow, are geared more toward poetry and getting students used to public speaking and presentation. These classes are focus on poetry and music and getting students used to putting their thoughts onto paper. Khazm tries to relate his belief that poetry and music are really the same and hopes to give his students an opportunity to write and record their own music towards the end of class.

     Learning the history of Hip Hop and how to express one’s self through that medium is not the only focus of the classes. “The thing I like about the program is that we talk about the responsibilities of a practitioner of Hip Hop. It almost goes against the way the industry is set up,” says Khazm, who believes that there is a lot of negativity in the music currently played in the mainstream media that often times carries messages that support misogyny and materialism.  “A lot of people that make it big don’t pay homage to the roots of Hip Hop. A lot of people have a misconstrued sense of Hip Hop and try to emulate that.”  Khazm believes that exploitation by the mainstream media is in large part to blame for the misrepresentation of Hip and Hop and for peoples’ lack of knowledge of Hip Hop culture. He feels that he is a guardian of Hip Hop culture, which has “gone from the hands of practitioners of Hip Hop to corporate America. One of the missions of Universal Zulu Nation Seattle Chapter is to reclaim the media in order to justly represent Hip Hop culture.”

    When asked what he hopes for his students to gain from his classes Khazm expressed that he hoped the classes would help them to empower themselves. He also related his belief that Hip Hop is just one means of empowering the youth and that whatever makes them fr - El Centro de la Raza


Khazm "Khazm & the Pearl Street Associates" (2007)

Khazm "Diaries of a Mad" - 12" (2005)

Cyphalliance "Industreets" (2003)

Sista Hailstorm "14... Halfway to Avenue 28" (2005)
"Gatewayz" feat. Gabriel Teodros, Swiftbyrd, Khazm

Reigncraft Vol. 4 "The Labor" (Undercaste, 2005)
"Pick Me Up" feat. Gabriel Teodros, Cyphalliance, Xololanxinxo

Mr. Adrian "Reactionary Suicide" (2005)
"Circles" feat. Cyphalliance

206 Hop "Audio Vol. 2" (2004)
"Bring it Back" feat. Khazm



King Khazm has been a formative force in the Seattle Hip Hop scene for years, and his momentum as an artist, activist, educator, promoter and community leader has only grown since he co-founded MAD Krew in 1995, a Hip Hop crew that quickly evolved into an influential multimedia production company. MAD Krew’s release of the Hip Hop documentary video, ‘Enter the Madness’ in 1998, helped exposed Pacific Northwest Hip Hop to a national view, a scene the crew was pivotal in cultivating through the organization and production of many hip hop shows and events. One of these, that has since grown to be among the most anticipated emcee competitions, are the Brainstorm Emcee Battles. Khazm is the producer and co-founder of Hip Hop 101, a live weekly television show for emerging Hip Hop artists to showcase their skills, which is broadcasted on regional cable and on the internet. In addition to this, Khazm co-hosts Zulu Radio, a weekly broadcast on KBCS 91.3 fm, dedicated to diversifying the Seattle airwaves with new school, old school, independent, and local Hip Hop.

As an artist, Khazm’s contributions to the culture have been significant as well. Since he began emceeing in the mid 90’s and started producing music, he has released various material on CD and vinyl as a solo artist; with groups Cyphalliance, Abyssinian Creole and others on a number of compilations and projects. He has shared the stage with Afrika Bambaataa, Gza/Genius, Abstract Rude, Aceyalone, Emanon, Duex Process, Grandmaster Caz, Naughtly By Nature, and other Hip Hop legends throughout the country. His breadth and skill as a visual artist fueled his work in graphic design, and his art installations have been featured in various art and graffiti exhibitions, one of which currently is on display at the Experience Music Project Museum in Seattle.

It was Khazm’s commitment and dedication to Hip Hop culture, paired with his desire to establish and spread a deeper understanding of Hip Hop’s roots, which set the context for his work with Universal Zulu Nation. After receiving recognition for his contributions to the culture from Afrika Bambaataa and the World Supreme Council of the UZN, along with overwhelming community support on the local level, he founded 206 Zulu – UZN Seattle Chapter in 2004.

Khazm’s current pursuits in Hip Hop activism, his participation in the curriculum development and delivery of Hip Hop classes, workshops, panel discussions, and other educational-oriented activities centered on youth empowerment, has led him to a more comprehensive perspective of Hip Hop in the global age and its role in society, and recently has recieved an award for Community Leadership from Seattle Mayor Nickles in 2006. He aims to expand Hip Hop’s role in youth and community empowerment.