Chances are your typical hip hop artist doesn’t hold dual degrees from Stanford University, but K.Flay, born Kristine Flaherty, isn’t your typical MC. Catch her, along with favorite Live 105 DJs Aaron Axelsen and Miles the DJ Thursday, April 5 at Rickshaw Stop as part of Popscene.
As one of the most compelling new voices to emerge from hip hop, K.Flay, a college nickname that stuck with her professionally, defies expectation.
On stage and off she’s a one-woman whirlwind whether creating beats, singing, rapping or playing guitar – her wit and acerbic charm shine through. Her talents have led her to share the stage with artists including Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, Kid Cudi and 3OH!3, where she quickly won over audiences who hadn’t seen anything quite like her before. Further setting her apart from the pack, she serves as her own producer in the studio, methodically infusing her hip hop swagger with a dose of sonic exploration.
Raised in the outskirts of Chicago, K.Flay listened to a healthy mix of classic rock and funk, not giving hip-hop its props until her freshman year at Stanford where she met a house DJ.
“He was the first person I ever saw recording music. That was really fascinating to me. That’s how I got involved in the production stuff,” she told East Bay Express.
“It’s still shocking to people who knew me growing up that I’m doing this. Everyone thought I would be a doctor or something, have a serious job.”
Locals embraced her talent, most notably hip hop duo Zion-I. In 2009, K.Flay was featured on the track “Coastin” for the album The Takeover.
In 2009 she released a five song EP, Single and Famous, collaborating with MC Lars whom she met in college. Her latest, Eyes Shut is available as a free download.
Critics have showered praise on the 25-year-old rapper. NME declared her “the next big thing in hip hop,” URB said “her natural skills on the mic are addictive, her performances on stage are charming and charismatic, and her mixtapes are amazingly wicked… One of the best new artists of the new decade,” and MusicWeek gushed “A musical maestro…”
Where doth the lady see herself several years down the road?
“It’s cool performing on my own, but eventually I want to expand the live show to include a backing band,” she told Substream.
“If we could have a badass group of all girls, I think we would regularly blow the roof off of some joints. Particularly if the roofs were made by people like myself, who have no idea how to make roofs.”
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