“I call my genre of music ‘reality rap,’ ” says hip-hop impresario Kayo. “It describes the things that I went through. It’s reality because I used to write the songs to myself — to motivate myself, to overcome my worst situations. That’s why I say in songs like ‘True Story’: ‘I’m tired of walking, I wanna ride in a Caddy.’ I wrote that in 2005. Well, I drive a ’Lac now, so the self-motivation worked, didn’t it?”
He’s been using the name Kayo since 1998, his freshman year in high school. “I knew by then that I wanted to do everything there is to do in the [music] business. It was originally K.O., like knockout, because I was knocking out rhymes — knocking out my opponents and people who tried to keep me down — and because to score a knockout is to win the fight.”
Kayo started his record label On Fyre Entertainment in 2003 and founded his production company, BeatsByKayo, in 2005. His first EP, Konfessions of a Kriminal, was self-produced and self-marketed, as was his 2008 album One Hundred Percent Hustle. Kayo has recently been performing around town with fellow hip-hop artists Young Mass and Play B in a trio known as the Three Rappers.
WHAT’S IN YOUR MUSIC PLAYER?
1. Suga Free, Messy Marv mix. “I dig Suga Free’s mentality and Messy’s delivery.”
2. Young Jeezy, The Inspiration. “I play it before I hop out and go hustle every night.”
3. Cherry Chuck Gang mix. “Gotta support the homies and the Southeast S.D. movement.”
4. Young Jeezy, The Recession. “He’s keeping it 100 percent on this CD and making music for the times.”
5. Mitchy Slick, Urban Survival Syndrome. “Hands down, one of my favorite CDs of all time. Yeah dat!”
6. “An R&B mix for when I let a female take a ride in the Cadillac.”
“Bad Boys one and two. How can you not love Will Smith and Martin Lawrence together, telling jokes and blowin’ shit up?”
MOST VISITED WEBSITE?
“siccness.net. It’s an online community for urban underground hip-hop.”
BRUSHES WITH FAME?
“Too many. I don’t get starstruck. I look at celebrities as equals; they’re just on a bigger playing field, but they did everything I’m doing now to get there. I did try to sell my CD to OG Bobby Johnson on Hollywood Boulevard once, though.”
THREE FAVORITE HANGOUTS?
1. “The beach, because of the sound, the smell, and the peace.”
2. “Downtown, because it’s always so busy.”
3. “Fam Mart, because I hustle there, and I always meet someone interesting and get to catch up with old friends. So if you think I’m Hollywood and don’t wanna kick it, come holla at me there. The old one. I grind there whenever I’m in town.”
KANYE OR 50 CENT?
“I value 50 Cent’s business mind. I read his book From Pieces to Weight, which earned him a higher level of respect from me. I like Kanye, though. He should write a book. That might put him in first place.”
DRINK OF CHOICE?
“My daughter’s mother got me hooked on cranberry juice. So when I’m clubbing it’s cran and vodka or cran and Patrón, depending on what I plan on doing that night.”
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU FEW WOULD KNOW OR GUESS?
“Money motivates me.”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH THE POWER OF INVISIBILITY?
WHAT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE TO DO WITHOUT?
“God. Because you can’t do anything without Him, and if you keep it real with Him, He’ll bless you.”
UM, WE GUESSED THAT.
“Okay, then. How about…money is a bigger motivation for me than sex. I could care less how pretty or good a female is. I got goals to accomplish. If she wants me, she’s gotta be helpin’ out.”