How does Santa Ana rapper Kadillak Kaz spend his downtime? Getting high on culture–and plenty of cannabis. In his latest video for the single "I'm In This" off of his recently released Downtime EP, the former OC Weekly cover boy stares at paint slathered portraits of Jimi Hendrix, Dr. Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X and other cultural icons, staring deep into their eyes and blowing blunt smoke in their faces. Sure, trying to give a civil rights leader a contact high might seem a little disrespectful, not to mention damaging to the artwork. But it's also symbolic of the rapper's hiatus since releasing last year's album, Late Nights, Early Money.
Taking time away from recording music prior to Downtime, which came in early 2015, Kaddy's had plenty of time to sit, smoke, and contemplate his next moves as an artist. He says the time off has been crucial since we last spoke to him after his release from jail following a near conviction on a dubious carjacking charge that almost landed him life in prison.
"I've been going through a lotta things in life and I needed to just stop for a minute and not do music for a minute. I was listening to other people's music, taking inspiration from others and living life. Downtime for me was getting back my piece of mind and seeing things correctly both personally and as a businessman."
Downtime became his way of telling people that despite his absence from the rap game, he still has plenty of tracks like "I'm In This" hidden in his arsenal, along with blazing beats courtesy of Deedotwill, Flip The Soul Fisher, Stone Beatz and many others. And now that his temporary vacation is over, he's ready to open fire once again on OC hip-hop.
"I've got my own studio again and I've been recording a lot," the rapper says. "I'm already working on my next project after this one. I actually got three projects right now I'm trying to finish."
Like most projects he works on, the video for "I'm In This" carries a guerilla style, street rapper vibe surrounded by hip-hop art. Hollywood gallery Exact Science and The Cllctiv clothing store in Santa Ana are the main backdrops in the video, for the rapper to stunt, pose, puff, clown on his haters, hold fake money bags, and court a handful of ladies in tight skirts and short shorts. Rapping over a track by respected LA producer DJ Official with a hook from fellow rapper SizzleSoFresh, Kaddy's verses toe the line between solid bars and braggadocio and a street-acquired smoothness. Obviously it was enough to convince an art gallery owner to open up for the rapper and his crew to spark up and have a good time.
With the new video and more new music in the works, Kaddy let himself into the art gallery, and into the hip-hop as well. Taking his long time slogan "Skyballin'" (also the name of the rapper's own indie label) to heart, the rapper says he's committed to learn from his past mistakes, grind towards the future, and create street art every time he touches the mic.
"Every day you get up and strive for perfection and strive to be a better individual, despite all the bullshit, if you're getting up to better yourself and be a better person than you were yesterday that's all that counts. You're skyballin'."