360 Degrees Hip-Hop: Masta X Kid on Becoming the Master
From break-dancer to graffiti artist to DJ, Masta X Kid, has explored all that is hip-hop.
“I was just X-Kid for years and years until 2013 when the band Green Day came out with a song called ‘X-Kid’ and wiped out my social media presence, so I changed to Masta X-Kid,” explains the Portland native. The name itself encompasses much of the universe in which he lives—nodding its head to his hip hop playfulness (the kid part of the name), as well as the “masta” part, the allusion to the wisdom and old-school knowledge of his game.
And, what are exactly are those old-school elements? For those who not around in the 80’s for the birth of hip-hop, let’s break it down a bit:
Dancing: “Hip-hop started out as being part of something bigger than yourself and creating community, so the dance part is really important to me,” says Kid.
He has been moving, grooving and performing since he was five years old, but he did not get into hip-hop until the 90s. Once he did, put out the welcome mat because found his home in the music scene. At first, he admits it was about the allure of fame, but today he’s affecting positive change. Now, Kid calls himself an activist for stopping street violence. By being a conscious artist and using the drive to dance, he motivates others to do the same. At his upcoming show in Medford at Johnny B’s, there will be: “a high-energy performance with body pulsating music and lyrical content to stimulate the imagination.”
Second element of Masta X-Kid’s old-school charm: Street Art: “I’m an artist. I deal with watercolors and I like to create art pieces that go along with the music,” Kid explains.
Hip-hop and street art are like two speakers in a boom box. The artists have something to say, and hearing it and seeing it makes it hard to deny. Kid believes that the more intelligent the lyrics, the more the hip-hop artists are being pushed out of the industry. When asked if there are still venues to perform at, he said speaking as an event promoter, “there are.” Radio stations and labels may be targeting younger and younger kids with more mainstream unconscious artists, Kid explains but there is: “A strong movement of underground conscious artists out there.”
In fact, performing on the Starduster Tour in addition to Masta X Kid are: Playboy Beav, Jaws Atak, Holographic Girl, and Kamaki Stone.
Holographic Girl from Grants Pass is one of the only female hip-hop artists locally. She says, “I got a lot of haters when I first started. I had one girl take the mic out of my hand, but I thrive on that. My music is based on my struggles.”
Third. Beat Boxing: Vocal percussion and turning one’s voice into whatever instrument one wants is something people expect from hip-hop. They will not be disappointed with the Starduster lineup. Kid still beat boxes. Jaws Atak from Ashland, known for his rap battles, will be in the house performing too.
Four. Disk Jockeying: You don’t need a record or a turntable any more, but the spirit of the disc jockey lives on today in hip-hop. Masta X Kid sometimes travels with one. Not on this tour but the art of incorporating spontaneous sounds like audience members or street noises add to the vibe of the show. Hip-hop is about keeping it real.
Holographic Girl says, “Bring your vibe hard, and be who you are.”
And, finally, fifth. Participation: Hip-hop is about showing up.
You gotta be there or stay unaware. Grab your friends and go, or get dissed ‘cause you didn’t show. You can’t make things better if you too afraid to put on a sweater and get to Johnny B’s. Word up!
Starduster Tour with Masta X Kid
9 pm, Saturday, October 13
Johnny B’s, 120 E 6th St., Medford