King Khazm
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King Khazm

| Established. Jan 01, 1995 | INDIE

Established on Jan, 1995
Solo Hip Hop Pop




"King Khazm takes his place amongst Seattle's Hip-Hop Royalty"

King Khazm has been an important fixture in Seattle hip-hop for decades. An emcee, visual artist, cultivator of culture, mentor and organizer, Khazm, who uses a wheelchair, is one of the most visible people in the Emerald City’s South End creative community.

After releasing his 2016 LP, Diaries of a MAD, which took about a decade to create, Khazm is in the process of releasing new music videos for the record’s tracks. Amidst all this work, he continues to travel and give talks about art, history, and community organizing along the west coast and abroad. Before his next jaunt, we thought it would be good to catch up with the artist and see how he got to be where he is today.

You have a new animated video that you’re going to release for the song, “Excel.” How long have you been making visual art?

I’ve been drawing and doing graffiti since I could first hold a pen. That was my first element [of hip-hop]. As a kid, that was really my saving grace. I got into music a bit later, poetry in middle school and emceeing later in high school. I worked with Dume41 on the animation. I did the storyboards and illustrations and we worked together on the animation aspect of it. But what inspired me was that the whole album is about perseverance while having a sense of hopelessness. How all these difficult things compounded in my life, yet I had a sense of determination that I was able to pull through. Even though the album Diaries of a MAD is somewhat bleak, to excel is the underlying theme.

In the song, “Excel,” you say, “I was chosen for this moment.” Can you unpack this thought?

It’s about coming to the heightened awareness that all these struggles in my life are necessary for my growth. All the great things that manifest in order for me to excel into leadership and be able to be an organizer in the community are, in hindsight, determined by the struggle. And now I know that this is the time to mobilize all these ideas, which have been building up over the years.

Can you be a bit more specific about what these “ideas” are?

Ideas in terms of just building a movement through hip-hop and the community. I’ve always been into the arts. I’ve always been an advocate for those marginalized in the community and the hip-hop community. And just having a heightened awareness and the sense that this is our time. It’s bigger than just entertainment. It’s about liberation and freedom – not just for me, but for my peers.

Your video for “Dear Diary,” which came out a few years ago, is very personal – showing you writhing, with a hood over your face, and very serious scars all over your back. Why did you want to let your audience in so closely?

The album Diaries of a MAD was conceived initially in 2004 and it was a very personal project, very introspective. It touched upon a lot of things that I don’t usually talk about in my music – like disability and my Japanese ancestry. It had a lot to do with identity, a lot to do with my upbringing. That album was a real conceptual project. I conceived of it in a hospital while bedridden for seven months. I was in a deep depression. I didn’t know where things were going. The album took over 10 years to see into fruition and a lot of that time was my own inability to open myself up to be out there.

What happened over the next ten years, or so?

A lot of things started to happen. I founded 206 Zulu, began traveling and organizing. But the producer I was working with said, in 2015, if we didn’t buckle down and finish the album, he had to move on. That made me wake up and realize I had to overcome these barriers. And I began to realize the biggest barrier to it was me.

Speaking of being very busy, you’re currently working with folks on a documentary about your life. Can you give us a window into what that film will be about?

It’s a short documentary, produced by Elliat Graney-Saucke, that’s going to be a part of the Seattle International Film Festival. It’s a short film on my story, my upbringing, my background and the different types of arts I’m involved with and how I got into community organizing and working with 206 Zulu and Washington Hall.

You’re often asked to travel and speak at events. Not everyone gets these sorts of invitations. How did this start?

I’ve always been the big homie in my circles. I’ve always been about sharing my knowledge and learning from each other. So, it was a pretty natural evolution to becoming a teaching artist and going to a lot of different schools – high schools and colleges – speaking on different topics. Like about hip-hop history and how it’s evolved over the last 40 years and, more specifically, northwest hip-hop. It’s grown to speaking about other things, whether that’s media consolidation, the teen dance ordinance, police brutality. I started the 206 Zulu Chapter in 2004 and our organization has become a model to a lot of other groups. We’ve established a lot of other Zulu Nation chapters around the world. Because 206 Zulu has been on the forefront of progressive events, we’ve helped mentor a lot of other organizations and chapters around the world.

You have a lecture coming up April 26 at the Seattle Black Panther Party 50th anniversary. Can you give a little insight into the theme of that talk?

I’m going to be on the hip-hop and activism panel, delving into the intersection of how hip-hop inherently is activism. How it’s a platform to mobilize efforts to engage people politically. And how in our community we can use entertainment as a lens to dig deeper into issues and how we can utilize that to mobilize people to make change.

Why is “organizer” an important part of your creative mission?

Organizing is the 5th element of hip-hop. It’s the knowledge aspect, the fabric that ties all the elements together. As an organizer, there’s a big spectrum – from artist management to running a label. But in terms of the community, it means coordinating programs, events, rallying people around different issues and causes, different charity events, raising funds.

You’ve worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. From Jake One to Vitamin D. Yet you often focus on youth empowerment. Why is this important?

Youth empowerment is important to me because it’s our future. I feel that no matter where I’m at in my journey, no matter how much success, it’s always going to be important to realize where we’ve come from and to be able to give back to the community and to young people who are going to be our future leaders. It’s really important for me to nurture that. I wish I had more big homies growing up. If I had somebody that could look out for me, especially when things were crazy, like in the 90s with gang tensions and violence, having a voice of reason as a mentor to help guide me through certain things would have been great. It’s important to be there for young people and help them create their own self-determination. - South Seattle Emerald

"Activist, Organizer, Hip-Hop Artist, Graffiti Artist, King Khazm Wears Many Hats"

Krip-Hop Nation (KHN) King Khazm, who founded a local hip-hop collective known as 206 Zulu in 2004, works toward elevating the status of hip hop in Seattle. Tell us how and why did you first get into Zulu Nation?

King Khazm: Before the internet was widespread and information was instantly available, I embarked on a quest to learn about Hip Hop’s history by attending massive events around the country such as B-Boy Summit in San Diego and B-Boy Masters ProAM in Miami in the mid 90s. I’d spend time building with many Hip Hop pioneers and old schoolers who’d share their stories with me. This is where I’d learn about the legacy the Zulu Nation. For me, being involved with Zulu was about preserving the history, advocating and protecting the culture of Hip Hop in unity as well as serving the community on a larger scale. These were all things I had been involved with on some level back home in Seattle, so for me it was a natural fit.

KHN: How did Zulu Nation talk to you as a Japanese-American with a physical disability and how did you today contribute to Hip-Hop culture?

King Khazm: Being a bi-racial, disabled youngster from the Southend of Seattle, one of the biggest struggles for me was having a sense of identity and self worth. I didn’t really fit in with any groups and for me Hip Hop music and art were the things that pulled me into a positive direction every time my surroundings had me spiraling out of control. Hip Hop became my mode of expression, my therapeutic outlet and guiding light that held no conditions or expectations. The deeper I got into Hip Hop, the deeper I got into wanting to educate myself and learning about how the world operates. The more educated I’d become, the more I valued life and strived to make a difference which began by thinking different. Although I was physically disabled I became mentally and spiritually empowered and could see for the first time, what happens in life when you apply determination and persistence. Hip Hop inherently enabled me to gain a better perspective on who I actually am and affirmed to me that Hip Hop is indeed universal. I am forever indebted to Hip Hop, and for that give back unconditionally for the betterment of Hip Hop culture and my community.

KHN: You have done a lot in Seattle Hip-Hop scene from starting the chapter to television/radio show to the latest campaign around the historic Washington Hall that was rented out for music and theatrical performances. Musicians and speakers such as Marian Anderson, Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jimi Hendrix, W.E.B. du Bois, Marcus Garvey, and Joe Louis used Washington Hall as their venue. The building was also known as a “public dance hall” and was a popular gathering place for the local community. Tell us more about these projects.

King Khazm: Hip Hop 101 TV is a Seattle-based television program that Dirty Dev and myself co-founded and produced, along with MADK Productions (and 206 Zulu in the later years). The live-weekly show was Seattle’s premier source of entertainment and news which featured live performances from local and nationally recognized Djs, MCs, dancers, special guests and a live studio audience. It ran from about 1999 to 2009 on SCAN channel 29 until the station eventually folded.
In 2005, shortly after 206 Zulu was formed, we partnered with KBCS 91.3 FM to host Zulu Radio, an independently run, commercial free radio show that spotlights independent, local and international Hip Hop from old school to new school. Zulu Radio continues to this day, every Saturday from 10pm-midnight on KBCS 91.3 FM and online at In 2010, 206 Zulu along with arts-based organizations Hidmo and Voices Rising joined forces as anchor partners in the restoration and development of the historic Washington Hall project. Built in 1908, Washington Hall has been a prominent hub for Seattle’s historically Black Central District and was a space for so many notable concerts, dances, weddings, church congregations, and all sorts of multicultural community gatherings. The building was purchased by Historic Seattle, a non-profit aimed at preserving historic spaces, thereby saving it from being demolished and selected our groups to help renovate and sustain the space to it’s original vision. In the last few years, we began operating out of office spaces in the building, began hosting regular programming and events and have improved much of the space. Last summer we petitioned the city council, local arts commissions, district representatives and successfully secured $300,000 from the Mayor’s improvement budget to pay for a much needed elevator to make the space accessible to all. This year we are working diligently to raise funds to renovate the rear 1/3 of the building which is currently not to code. We plan to build additional office spaces, multi-functional rooms, after school study areas, classrooms, and a state of the art audio/multimedia studio areas for young people to have opportunities to develop their skills in music, video and related technology.

KHN: Every February 206 Zulu set aside a time to celebrate not just the organizations accomplishments, but to pay tribute to the entire Hip Hop culture. Give us a rundown of that annual event and the mission behind it.

King Khazm: The 206 Zulu Anniversaries are our annual milestone event, held President’s Day weekend each February. Generally a three day event, the festivities attract several hundreds of people, dozens of which fly in from all corners of the country, and include DJ and MC performances, graffiti and urban art showcases, an annual Zulu Throwdown breakdance competition, youth workshops and Meeting of the Minds, a panel and community discussion forum. This last February we celebrated our 10th Anniversary with many special guests including Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Qbert, Ken Swift, Asia One, Trac2, Methuzulah and others, it was truly remarkable.

KHN: You’re also a visual artist aka graffiti artist. How do you use your art as social activism for social change in your communities especially people of color and people with disabilities?

King Khazm: My art has a broad range of applications, mediums, and styles, however much of my work has some sort of underlying concept or message that aims to evoke discussion or interaction on some level. More-so lately, I’ve been using these discussions as basis for engagement and creative exercises when working with students. The goal is not necessarily for the group to come to conclusive terms of the subject, but to draw connections from the various perspectives and how the art they produce parallels each other in their own unique ways.

KHN: Being a radio DJ and a Hip-Hop activist what are your thoughts on Hip-Hop journalism and Hip-Hop studies?

King Khazm: A lot of people focus on the craft of the music, which is absolutely relative and essential to fuel the movement, however we need more independent and alternative media to deliver the messages to the masses and help to bring news and information to light that otherwise falls to the wayside. Mainstream media has an agenda that isn’t always to the best intention of the viewer or listener. Radio programming is driven by commercial interests and demographic placements. News and history is often omitted and misconstrued to depict a certain political perspective. Sensationalism and fear tactics are used to implant messages to the people for particular purposes. In this day and age, we need to create our own media networks and work towards creating a more balanced media. For every time we hear Lil Wayne or Nicki Minaj on the radio, let’s supplement the spectrum with Dead Prez or Immortal Technique, as well as the new with the old, local with the national and so forth.

KHN: Tell us about the 1999 documentary on the Pacific Northwest hip-hop scene, “Enter the Madness, ”and were you in it? (How can Krip-Hop Nation get a copy for our library?)

King Khazm: “Enter the Madness” is a Northwest-based documentary produced by DJ Scene, directed by myself and members of MAD Krew that highlighted the elements of Hip Hop from local battles, late night bombing missions, cyphers, turntablist sessions and more. It ended up getting national distribution and was a catalyst for exposing Seattle Hip Hop for the first time to many from around the country.
KHN: How was it performing with Afrika Bambaataa?

King Khazm: It’s always an honor to perform and travel with Brother Bambaataa, more than anything to build and soak in that knowledge of self, everything from history to philosophy and self sustainability to ufo-logy. He is a true visionary and humanitarian who deserves so much more than he receives.

KHN: What are the plus and minus of being both an artist, activist and organizer with a physical disability?

King Khazm: Being an artist or an organizer among itself is challenging in it’s own many ways. Being an artist and an organizer is extremely challenging. Being an artist and an organizer with a disability can be excruciatingly challenging. It is a life of unending sacrifice and long term results. I became an organizer and activist out of necessity to help create spaces for the art of myself and in support of my community. Being that the needs of our community are so great, this eventually took me away from the art which helped to liberate me from the very beginning. And now atlas I am much closer at perfecting a delicate balance that can so easily be offset with a whim that may come in the form of citywide youth conference that needs facilitation or the next funding opportunity that can help benefit so many. There are many who support the cause, but how many of those people will dedicate there time after work to do the grunt work or shuttle their kids down to a meeting after football practice? People like us don’t get paid to organize, we pay to organize. As a person with a physical disability, every dinner prepared, box packed, ride coordinated and airplane rode occurs with nothing but calculated timing and preparation. No the results aren’t instant and you count your blessings when your bills are actually paid on time. The fulfillment of hearing a young person on the bus describing how you’ve helped open their mind during a speech at a juvenile detention center, or the warm embrace from a random senior citizen as you cross the street who praises you for your work, or the smiles of children as they dance at a local block party you helped to coordinate makes it all worthwhile.

KHN: What is in your future?

King Khazm: This year (2014) the long awaited debut solo album “Diary of a MAD” will finally make it’s way to the public. I’ve had this under the belt for about 5 years now, but things are finally in place so that I can spend the time and resources needed to properly market and promote it. It’s sort of a heavy album that comes from a very personal space, but I think true school heads will appreciate it. Also there is a lot of incredibly hot music from our FreshChoppedBeats/MADK Productions label that will be making way in ’14 including Gabriel Teodros, Sista Hailstorm, Khingz and special surprise artists to be announced! I will be also doing a lot of traveling this year, so keep your ears open for a special visit in a city near you!

KHN: Any last words and how can people find out more of your music and 206 Zulu Chapter?

King Khazm: No matter the odds and how hard things get, things always get better. Have faith, keep getting up and reach for the stars. You are the only thing holding you from achieving your aspirations!
Stay tuned with 206 Zulu at and for the music and updates on me, visit and
PEACE! - Krip Hop Nation


King Khazm Discography
Diaries of a MAD 12" (2018)
Diaries of a MAD (2016)
Pearl Street Associates (2007)
Preludes: Diaries of a MAD 12" (2005)

Group Projects
Cyphalliance "Livin' as a MAD" (2016)
The Building Project "Moving Pictures" (2009)
Cyphalliance "Industreets" (2003)

Production Credits
206 Zulu - The Resilience "Been Wit It" (2019)
Afu-Ra "P* Clot" featuring Sadat X & Sean Price (2018)
Eli Almic "Gargolas" featuring King Khazm (2018)



King Khazm is a multifaceted artist and community organizer who has become a prominent figure in the Hip-Hop community within Seattle and around the world. His work to unify and empower the community is demonstrated through over 20 years of art and community service.

As a performer and educator, he has toured and spoke in countless events, workshops, panels and assemblies, such as the University of Washington, University of Costa Rica, Willamette University, Portland State University, Seattle Children’s Hospital and King County Juvenile Detention Center.

Khazm has received recognitions from dignitaries such as Estella Ortega of El Centro de la Raza, former Seattle Mayor Nickels, and Washington State Governor Inslee.

King Khazm’s influence has helped shape Hip-Hop organizing circles and has supported the development of other Hip Hop organizations in Oregon, Hawaii, Malta, UAE, Malaysia, Costa Rica and Guatemala where the movement to preserve and elevate Hip-Hop culture continues.