WHS grad heating up Minnesota’s hip-hop scene
It could’ve been the combination of indie rock, African and hip hop music that scored him a spot at First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2013 show. Or it could’ve been his quirky videos and lyrics that are influenced by day-to-day interactions with people.
“Just because you do exist you’re not alive,” former Woodbury resident Allan Kingdom said, setting off a lyric from one of his songs.
“Opportunity is at the door ah like Diego/I could never really sweat a day job/My job is to appreciate the day, though.”
The 2012 Woodbury High School graduate is climbing the ranks of the Twin Cities hip hop scene with original music that embraces his Tanzanian and South African roots along with his Canadian and Minnesota childhood memories.
After a few years of paying to rent out venues to perform his shows, Kingdom began grabbing booking agents’ attention.
His First Avenue performance was packed and his 30-minute set represented his love for mixing all kinds of hip hop genres.
“I was putting on my own shows for a long time and going into the hole for a long time,” he said. “But it paid off.”
The 20-year-old, whose real name is Allan Kyraiga, has been recording music since his teenage years and remembers listening to old school R&B and random hip hop and African music, “stuff my mom was playing around the house” that made an impact on him.
“Everything I do, it depends on what I’m listening to at the time,” he said.
Going from a 16-year-old who circulated his music at local record stores to running a website with tracks and videos that have been featured on World Star Hip Hop and throughout social media wasn’t an easy task.
His first headlining show was packed with a “very subculture, wasn’t as open or as well known” crowd, which encouraged him to be as relatable to a vast majority of the crowds as possible and appeal to all hip hop cultures.
“Whenever something happens, I think of lyrics,” he said. “I go through a day and turn everything into a song or a weekend or whatever it is.”
Kingdom has noticed how much of a difference audience reactions have been since he’s gotten older and evolved as a rapper.
Meeting new people, traveling and just living, has given him a different perspective. His newest song “The Dwelling” reflects on those experiences.
“A lot of people are not really living,” he said as he explained the meaning behind the song. “They’re doing something they weren’t born to do.”
Kingdom, on the other hand, said he feels this is what he was meant to do. He attended St. Paul College for a short time before deciding to focus on his hip hop career and continue to make a lot of music for “people who feel like they don’t necessarily belong.”
He’s got a lot planned for this year, including partnering up with Kid Cudi’s producer, who he traveled to meet in Los Angeles earlier this month.
With so many different genres of hip hop, each touching him in a different way, Kingdom is grateful that his unique melodies are leading to shows all over the Twin Cities and additional opportunities in the music industry.
“Everything that’s been happening, none of it was orchestrated,” he said.
Spoken like a true artist.