Khakikid: “I love making chilled music, but inside I’m a little rager”

by James Hendicott
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Dublin rapper Khakikid is flying. From an extended period of learning his craft from a base of little music-scene context, to millions of streams, international hype, and a reputation for a unique take on hip-hop, Abdu Huss is widely scene as a future star of the Irish music scene. To us, his rise seems rapid. To him, however, it’s been a slow process.

“I don’t feel like it’s taken off quickly, but I’ve seen it with other artists, so I understand that feeling people have,” he says. “I welcome all of it. Anybody listening to my music, whether it’s over the last six month or six years, is well appreciated.”

“I learnt from meeting people in real life, when I started I didn’t really know anyone who did music,” The Crumlin-based star tells us. “But I met other musicians slowly. I hadn’t met anyone playing guitar until I was about 19, which is so funny as it’s such a cliche to have a guitar at a party. But I never knew anyone, and I just kept hanging around, meeting people like Bricknasty and F3miii, and getting more into a mix of music, not just rap. I felt like I deprived myself for a long time just listening to rap.”

“The last couple of years I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff like Nelly Furtado, Holly Humberstone,” he says. “Years ago I wouldn’t have looked at it. But a cool thing about it is you get to be 23 and learn what The Sex Pistols and The Beatles sound like. I’ve been discovering legendary music, and musically it’s given me perspective. What I appreciate most is people with unique perspectives and also a unique way of wording things. It’s made me put a bit more effort into how I word things and into being more present in life.”

“There’s this guy called TR-One who points out the absurdity of things people do every day, things we take for granted, and I’d like to be the rap equivalent of that. One of the things I love about Ireland is the self-deprecating nature of Irish people. In rap music, its origins come from boasting. It’s the complete antithesis of Irishness. It’s fun to boast about how much of a muppet you are.”

This journey is not, though, about fame, though Khakikid does appreciate the attention. “I’d do the same thing no matter how many people are listening to a certain extent, though I love that people listen,” he says. “A cool moment was realising that it’s not just my friends that are listening. There’s no way I have a 1,000 friends, and then you see people are listening from The Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and so on. That’s the power of music.”

“I’m so grateful that we live in this time. Twenty years ago, there’s not a chance anyone from my background could have made an impact, just my ma on the welfare with six kids. I could never have made it into a studio 20 years ago. Now I can put  a song on the internet with a cheap laptop and my brother’s gaming headphones.”

“I have hundreds of half finished songs. There’s lots of things that I will come back to, and other stuff I won’t. I get excited and have to move on to other things, but I’m really excited to get onto whatever is next.”

“My live show is like my recordings, but with the energy turned up tenfold,” he concludes. “I like making chilled music, but inside I’m a little rager. There’s no feeling like when I’m on stage, it’s something else. I appreciate every person, every moment. I can’t plan months ahead about going to shows, but people do it to se me now. It’s important I put on the sickest show I can.”

Khakikid plays the Dublin Academy on December 14, 2023, with tickets priced at €17.50.

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