SFU rapper making waves in Vancouver’s hip-hop scene

King H’s EP Switch Up (July 29) features songs inspired by changes made in his life following a car accident.

Vancouver’s music scene is diverse and ever-expanding, but for artist King H, he hopes the Lower Mainland will one day be known for more than Michael Bublé, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Nickelback.

“The music scene in Vancouver is cool, but [it] doesn’t have a dope rapper,” King H told The Peak. “I hope to make people more aware of Vancouver beyond what we are already known for.”

With a passion for music, a desire for greatness, and a strong work ethic, King H started to really take his music seriously two years ago. While listening to Kanye West or Eminem, he would rap over the songs with his own lyrics. Unlike most artists, however, King H would never write anything down; instead, he would keep performing and listening to the beats until something clicked. “It would all be freestyle and creativity. It feels like my body has a mind of its own [. . .] everything comes out perfect, without feeling like it’s forced,” he said.

This passion pushed King H to meet new people and collaborate with other artists, many of whom are featured on his new EP Switch Up, released on July 29. As music began to take on a more prominent part of his life, he pushed himself to the limits, balancing classes and work to make music. When asked how he was able to balance everything, he responded, “I see how hard my brother, my producers, and other artists are working to help me, and it makes me want to work harder.”

King H’s positive attitude makes his work seem effortless, but it wasn’t always this easy. Two months ago, a car accident left him with constant back pain, and he was unable to stand for a long time. “I couldn’t record standing up because I would be in so much pain, and the medication I was taking would leave me with dry mouth [. . .] I got to this point where I couldn’t do my music.”

But despite this adversity, King H took this as an opportunity to “switch up” his life — hence the title of his new EP. Instead of sitting around and feeling bad about himself, King H would wake up early to go to physio, water therapy, or anything that would help him feel good enough to record in the studio. This incident helped King H develop his patience, and showed him how important it was to switch up whatever life throws at us from negative to positive.

“This is what Switch Up is all about,” King H said. “The accident was super shitty, but I needed to find the positives: was I going to lie on my bed, or make myself feel better?”

This resilience is evident in the five-track EP. With contagious beats and strong lyrics, King H shows both his lyricism as well as his keen ear for rhythm. The songs all have stories tied to them; for example, his first track “Intro” is a tribute to his start in music, and how in the music business, not everyone is your friend. His lyrics are very raw and real in his songs “You Need” and “The One,” challenging people’s perceptions of making it big and what it truly means to be a rapper or artist.

Aside from his own hard work, he is thankful for his “non-Yes Men”: 40K, Malikai Motion, Kane Dabir, Samy T, TiV Productions, and TJ, all of whom played a major role in the release of Switch Up. “These are the ones that kept me searching,” King H said. “They wouldn’t tell me that something is good so that they wouldn’t hurt my feelings [. . .] they were real and honest with me, and helped me to dig deeper.”

Ultimately for King H, music is his outlet and something that he hopes to be doing for the rest of his life. With his current studies in business and communication at SFU, he hopes not only to be a great artist and rapper, but to also have business smarts and the ability to market his product confidently. Most importantly, he wants to make a name for himself and bring about a new wave of music, instead of just being known as a new Eminem or Kanye West. “If I want to do music, I’m going to do it seriously and not half-ass it.”

With his confidence and drive, King H is one to watch in pioneering Vancouver’s up-and-coming hip-hop scene.