Electronica, Hip-Hop, R&B
From: houston, TX, United States

About Artist

On any smoke-filled evening on the south side of Houston, in underground clubs far removed from the shiny, glossy joints lining midtown, a Hip-hop scene fueled by copious amounts of medicinal herb grooves and funks hipsters of all origins. As drinks are passed around in plastic cups, the lights go on over the stage and a group of rappers begin belting their raw sounds. Through lyrics of smoking weed and partying, one of those rapper’s sound stands apart from the crowd of baggy jeans and gold medallions. Daraja Hakizimana has been writing and composing music for the better part of his life and has thus far, released 10 albums. He is most known as one of Devin the Dude’s Coughee Brothaz, but this artist is making a name for himself with his musical prowess as a rapper, songwriter, producer and composer. Pegged as Houston’s next up and comer, at any given time you’ll find him perfecting a tune on his keyboard, adding riffs with his guitar or just kicking back with a blunt with other artists at a local watering hole.

 How long have you been performing?

I started writing music when I was 13 and in 2000, I started performing. Originally I started in poetry and R&B in a duo group under the name Kamakazae. That was going really well until the guy that I was working with ended up in jail. From there, I went on to Hip-hop and electronica jazz. Once I started doing Hip-hop, I got started with Devin the Dude and became one of the Coughee Brothaz. That put me further into the Hip-hop scene.

 Tell us about your different musical styles?

 Even though Hip-hop, R&B and Instrumental Jazz are my base, I am working on a lot more mixing of sounds whether that be Punjabi or Reggae or any kind of world music. I like exploring different genres and seeing what comes out of it. My fans seem to like what I am putting out. It’s a different sound than what I do with Devin.

How did you get involved with Devin the Dude?

I started to dig his music around 2003, and I happened to come across him in the mall one day. I went over to him and introduced myself and told him about the open mic poetry scene I was hosting at the time called My Block Speaks at the Shine of the Black Madonna. I had actually invited him to a poetry session, but he ended up coming one night when I was doing a play called, Lest We Forget. So there I was on stage dressed in women’s clothes replaying the scene where Harriet Tubman had to dress the slaves as women to get them through. Plays over, he applauds and he walks up and we started talking. Since then we kinda kept up with each other on a musical basis.

What’s it like performing with The Coughee Brothaz?

Honestly, a lot of fun, a lot of smoke, a lot of screaming and a lot of girls. It’s a big honor. His whole movement is really big. If you know anything about Devin the Dude and the Coughee Brothaz, you know what Hip-hop is. Basically we are doing it all, it’s a fun environment and it takes Hip-hop back to its originality. It’s about partying and having a good time.

Does Any Particular Performance Stand Out?

We were in Texarkana basically doing a show where a lot of Devin’s family was there and people that grew up listening to his music. This is like in the early days when we released the Coughee Brothaz’ Waiting My Turn album. And of course, not many people knew all the rappers involved, but they respected Devin and his movement so much that a lot of the fans were already familiar with us. It felt right, it’s like being in the Coughee Brothaz, we all have our own stories, individual goals and things we wanna do, so for us to be all together in a group with that many members and get that love, it really shows how strong his movement and music is.

 Tell us about My Block Recordz?

My Block Recordz to some degree is who I am. At the time when I was starting to entertain being on a label, it was the ending days of those big record label deals, and it was the beginning days of music on the internet. At the time, the offers that were being tossed around did not make any sense to me as an artist. And from there My Block Recordz was born. With the My Block Speaks show, as the music started to accumulate, I had to find a home for that. And what’s better than to make yourself the home. The majority of the music is my own, but I also collaborate with a few other artists I have met along the path, and they’ve become a part of My Block Recordz. I distribute the music mostly through the internet and independent record stores. But with the internet, I can also be in touch with my fans and it’s really nice…that interaction.

You're breaking out into more solo work? What are you working on right now?

A major project that I just came off of is Daraja Hakizimana: Class of Forever Vol.1 (Greatest Hits), which, of course, if you missed me so far, you can technically buy that album and get the CliffsNotes version of the last 10 years of my music. My two other major projects is an R&B duo named Club 803. That is me working with Geno Williams. We are working on our second album titled Cloud 9. My other project is my second follow up to Daraja of the Coughee Brothaz titled Electric Kush. I’ve also been doing a lot more traveling. I just spent the summer performing in New York City a few times, and I’m working on more projects with the New York Scene, things I’ll be releasing soon through my website and other internet channels.



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