The King's Offspring: The hip-hop foursome with an unexpected turntable hit

Sunday 27th January 2013

Tony Cummings reports on the rap team THE KING'S OFFSPRING

The King's Offspring
The King's Offspring

Such is the avalanche of independent releases flowing from all corners of the world it's easy to miss a gem. Cross Rhythms does its best to seek out as many indie albums as we can but the task is truly an enormous one. So that's why it has taken two years for Cross Rhythms to put the Florida-based hip-hop band The King's Offspring onto its playlist. But those who've heard "Rumour Has It" from the outfit's wonderfully named debut album 'God, Girls And Glazed Donuts' will have already recognised that this foursome are exceedingly talented rappers and singers.

The King's Offspring consist of 26 year old Jonathan Hunte, otherwise known as Espio, 21 year olds Isaac Folch, aka Isaac Knox, and Justin "Skuba" Cirami and 22 year old Jordan Keyes, aka Heir Jordan. Isaac spoke about to JesusFreakHideout about how the group came together. "Myself and Skuba came from a group called 3MA, which is a little embarrassing, and it's very much not the style that we do anymore, but nevertheless, it happened. That music was pretty much 100% preaching music. We wanted to say 'Jesus' several times every couple of bars, so we could add to the illusion that we were on the right path. The idea was to have that group, 3MA, and we were gonna try to push that as hard as we could with me, Skuba and another guy. And then this other group, The King's Offspring - which still had a Christian ring to it, but you could also flip it as K.O., like 'knock out', so it's kinda two-sided. We were planning on being local and just hitting a lot of clubs and bars, and being able to be Christians and make music in the secular scene. But it's funny, 'cause as we kept trying to push 3MA, it seemed like God was opening more doors for The King's Offspring. So we just went with that, and God's really blessed us in taking that route and making music that genuinely comes from our souls. And because Christ is such a big part of our lives, He shows up naturally, and we don't have to try to put Him into our music."

Skuba explained how the group began writing together. "The first song we ever did together - we weren't even K.O. yet - but the first song we ever wrote, recorded and performed together was for our church youth group for a lock-in. The track was called 'Element', and the song was themed around that, and it was some of the greatest music that you will never hear. [laughter] Then as The King's Offspring, our first official song together was one called 'Oh Honey', about our bad luck with females."

The tongue-in-cheek "Oh Honey" was one of the tracks on an independent album, 'Trust Us, We're Cool'. That project helped them get bookings in the Florida area. The group then recorded a mixtape of sorts, 'The Vocal Network', based on a song-per-week concept. Jordan spoke about that project. "We were walking around one of the parks in our city, and we were just wondering 'How do we reach people in our city? How do we communicate?' And of course, the best way for us to communicate is through our music. So, we decided to start a project called 'The Vocal Network', and basically we were putting out a song a week, or two songs, or however many songs we made, because we felt like it had been a little bit since we put out 'Trust Us, We're Cool' and we hadn't made any new music. So we just wanted to stay fresh and stay sharp, but also wanted to give away a piece of ourselves to as many people as possible on a regular basis. We started recording a song a week and we also put it out there that we wanted to support everybody else's projects, and kind of talk about the things that they were putting their lives into, whether they be musicians, artists, actors, cooks, whatever. We were trying to communicate with them and get to know what they were doing and support them. We wanted to be supported, but we felt like we couldn't ask for that unless we were being supportive of the people in our network and community. So that's kinda where 'The Vocal Network' came from. And it kinda became practice for us, but also a way for us to put out something new and talk to people that way. We said we were gonna do 10 weeks of music. We ended up putting out more than 10 tracks. I think we put out 16 or 17 tracks and some of it was just one person, some of it was K.O., some of it was just two of us, or something we'd been working on in the past and hadn't actually put out there. So we ended up doing it for nine weeks, but put out 16 or 17 tracks."

The King's Offspring: The hip-hop foursome with an unexpected turntable hit

Jordan was asked how 'The Vocal Network' tracks came to form the basis for 'God, Girls And Glazed Donuts'. He explained, "A lot of it was just personal preference, but a lot of that album was clearly heavily sampled, sometimes not even doing a whole lot to the sample except maybe beefing it up with some drums or looping a familiar part. But at the same time, we tried to, with the exception of one song, eliminate anything where we just simply used somebody else's beat without altering it at all, just so there was at least a little bit of originality to the production, at least in the pieces we chose. Probably the one that we did the least to was 'Everybody Loves Me', where we just kinda looped an instrumental part, adding the hook in, but we didn't add any drums or anything like that like you would normally do with a sample. But the reason we decided to keep that song anyway is because if we had to imagine what a K.O. single would feel like, something that we'd wanna push toward radio, that's kinda the feel and sound that we would go with. But for the most part, it was just whatever we liked best, and whichever we actually put in the most work, production-wise, to give it kind of a unique sound."

Things are clearly beginning to shape up for The King's Offspring. They've played some shows with RedCloud, Pigeon John, Playdough and Heath McNease and the track "Rumour Has It" has recently been going the rounds as part of the JesusFreakHideout download sampler 'Songs We've Been Trying To Tell You About (And Some We Haven't) Vol 1'. Certainly they have a positive attitude towards touring. Said Espio, "I've realised that God's been showing us that, no matter what, he's taken us this far and he's gonna keep providing for us. Even if we have two dollars in our bank account, it's in God's hands, and it's so good to trust him. Miles away from our friends and family and everything that we're comfortable with and used to, God is here with us." CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
About Tony Cummings
Tony CummingsTony Cummings is the music editor for Cross Rhythms website and attends Grace Church in Stoke-on-Trent.


Reader Comments

Posted by Ellen Keyes in Orlando @ 11:34 on Mar 14 2013

I am so happy to read this! They work so hard and it is nice to see some feedback like this! Look them up. They are on tour again in the mid-west/Heartland. Gotta love 'em..... My favorite song is "Migrate"!

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