Emerging from the Dallas neighborhood of Pleasant Grove comes a skilled storyteller with a vision of leaving his mark on the music game. Rapper/producer $kaduf’s first step in etching his name in the annals of Hip Hop history comes in the form of his 3-track EP Groveside The Realest.
On Groveside, $kaduf blends socially conscious lyrics with boastful bars. The Texan’s words ride over a jazzy soundscape reminiscent of classic tunes by Guru, A Tribe Called Quest, and Pete Rock & CL Smooth. $ka represents his southern roots to the fullest, but it was the style of 80’s/90’s East Coast rhymers that serve as his greatest influences.
DZI: The Voice connected with $kaduf for an exclusive interview. The Q&A features the Lone Star State native discussing his musical inspirations, his longtime goals, and more.
Yohance Kyles: When did you first discover your voice as an artist?
$kaduf: Funny you mention that. I have a really light voice, because I fell on my neck skateboarding when I was 13. I started to like the change ever since then.
YK: How did you get your stage name?
S: My childhood homie, Dinaoli, was from Ethiopia. He used to call me “skuh duf”, so it kind of stayed with me in tribute to him.
YK: You’re from Dallas, but you’ve named rap acts like Gang Starr and Nas as your influences. What was it about the East Coast sound that inspired you musically?
S: I’m from the south, so the music’s kind of slow, you know? And that Trap shit isn’t wassup. I’ve seen niggas die over that.
The first time I heard a song by Nas was probably when I was 9 or 10. I heard “I Can” on MTV Jams or BET. And for Gang Starr, I heard “Mass Appeal” and loved the sound. It was refreshing and real.
YK: The Groveside The Realest EP includes some biographical lyrics where you talk about growing up without your father. How did that experience affect you as a writer?
S: I always saw my mother writing, so that inspired me to do so as well. And my father made me want it to be real, and not a fantasy. Mom told me, “give them your story.” So my lyrics are from the heart. Everything I’ve seen or experienced are in my poems.
YK: On “40oz & Big B’s Burger” you rap about wanting to be close to the Grammy nominees. What are your thoughts on the controversy surrounding Iggy Azalea’s nomination for Best Rap Album this year?
S: Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Personally, I think J. Cole’s third verse on “Fire Squad” is self-explanatory. For me, I don’t listen to her, so I wouldn’t know. It just shows you the loopholes in the game. She’s beautiful though.
YK: What’s your favorite thing to order from Big B’s?
S: The double bacon cheeseburger with pickle relish.
YK: You recently tweeted “Nothing Else For Free!” Does that mean all the rest of your projects will be retail releases?
S: That and [charging for] verses, because I’m coming up kind of fast and people want to take advantage by asking for free shit, etc.
Nothing Else For Free !
— GroveSideTheRealest (@Skaduf_) January 19, 2015
YK: How do you measure success for your career?
S: By dying with 12 Grammys and getting a deal With TDE. Making sure my family live their dreams!
YK: Who you got winning the Super Bowl?
S: I ‘m really not into sports, but I watch my boys [Dallas Cowboys]. But since we got cheated, nobody!
YK: What’s next for $kaduf?
S: Shit, to continue working on my debut project… You’ll see.
Check out $kaduf’s Grove Side The Realest EP: