San Diego rapper Kayo self-released his first EP, Konfessions of a Kriminal, in 2005, at the age of 22. At least four other recording artists in different cities are calling themselves Kayo.
The Kayo in Dallas, Texas, is 15 years old and described on his CDbaby page as “Kid friendly, cute, and you will turn it up.” Sweden’s Kayo is a female disco performer, Japan has a Kayo Taizan, and Kayo Dot is an experimental rock ensemble based in New York City.
“I have been using the name Kayo since 1998, [my] freshman year of high school,” says local Kayo. “I started rapping a year before that. The name was given to me by my good friend Smokey, aka Smoke Mack, who was killed earlier this year. The name later stuck with me after an altercation I had, where cats started calling me K Knockout, then Kayo. Once they figured out it was my stage name, it was over.…
“I’ve been in many publications under the name Kayo, and the name has been poor-man copyrighted to myself.” A “poor man’s copyright” is accomplished by using registered dating by the post office or a notary public to stake a copyright claim (though U.S. copyright law doesn’t include any provision regarding this type of “protection”).
Kayo released his newest album, One Hundred Percent Hustle, in 2008. He’s also been performing and recording around town with locals Young Mass and Play B in a trio known as the Three Rappers.