Music

What Went Right With… Killa Kidz?

An image of the Queensboro Bridge with the name Killa Kidz over it

In 1993, after two young boys murdered a toddler named Jamie Bulger, the mainstream media were in a fervent rush to label the entire generation as “evil”. Even though there were similar killers such as Mary Bell in the ’60s, in the ’90s people began demonising the tail-end of the Generation X-ers and the start of what would later be known as the Millennials, thinking violence was somehow a new phenomenon exclusive to that particular age. In the same year as Jamie Bulger, a movie called The Good Son came out (about a 12-year old psychopath) and a book titled Killer Kids: Shocking True Stories Of Children Who Murdered Their Parents was released. Despite this generation of young violent kids being nothing but a figment of the media’s own imagination, people placed the blame on everything from Heavy Metal to video games, it seemed like there was a palpable yet unwarranted sense of fear of children by idiotic adults.

Around this time, a Hip-Hop group known as the Killa Kidz (possibly named after the book) emerged. This Queensbridge collective was made up of rappers Prince A.D., Mr. Ruck, Supurb, Psycho Child, and Baby Sham, and in a Dr. Seuss-esque kind of way, they were individually also known as Killa 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. The Killa Kidz (sometimes spelled Killa Kids) weren’t the youngest rappers around (even though some of them sounded very young, especially Psycho Child) but they were a far cry from the likes of Kris Kross who were a clean, radio and parent-approved duo, a group that every subsequent young rapper from Da Youngstas to Shyheim were compared to by the mainstream media. Given the band’s name, the Killa Kidz weren’t exactly making Horrorcore music but the fact that this bunch of teenagers were recanting tales of violence rather than stories about missing the bus to school, this just didn’t scan in a climate of fear surrounding young thugs and murderers. That being said, outside of the moronic mainstream, these troubled adolescents made some fantastic music. If you don’t remember, the Killdren released a couple of vinyl singles including…

“Time 2 Shine”

“’96 Phenomenon”

…and “Lyrical Flava” which included the catchy hook “yours is yours and mine is mines, lyrical flavour aimed for your mind”

The Killa Kidz made some noise in the underground with these singles as well as their contributions to various mixtape cassettes during the mid-to-late ’90s…

Then, over a decade later in 2013, a limited edition vinyl EP was released and it included most of the group’s singles including the great “Timing”…

“City Of Panic”

and “Feel Slugs”

There was also an unofficial compilation album titled Phenomenon but it erroneously included a track by Starr Blazz (and the group’s name was misspelled as Killah Kids).

Despite other groups from Queens including Capone-N-Noreaga and Screwball who bucked the trend of radio-friendly rap music, the late ’90s were a time of crossing-over, in fact many groups were all for the overt commercialisation of Hip-Hop. In that atmosphere, I guess there was no longer space for bleak and gritty violence from a Hip-Hop group consisting of teenagers. Even though a sane person could see the dark humour in lines such as “Get up in that ass like some full blown AIDS” (from “Timing”) this may have been too much for the mainstream, and upon hearing potentially controversial phrases such as “child abuser” in “Lyrical Flava” and “rap molester”, “[contageous] pussy”, “HIV Positive” and even “Hitler” in “’96 Phenomenon”, these weren’t the kind of raps some straight-laced A&R wanted to affiliate themselves with despite the group’s obvious talent and unique style. If only this Killa Krew had stuck with their original name “The Super Kids”, maybe Jermaine Dupri would have come calling (just kidding).

After their singles were ignored by the masses and without any interest from any labels, the Killa Kidz disbanded. Mr. Ruck became known as Ruc Da Jackal or The Jackal, Psycho Child became known as Mr. Challish or Challace and both appeared on Hip-Hop compilation albums including Nas’ QB’s Finest. I can’t find any information on Supurb but I found an interview with Jackal who states that there was also a member named Third Surge who I know nothing about. Of course Baby Sham became a member of The Flipmode Squad and Prince A.D. later became known as Killa Sha and he released a handful of singles, mixtapes, and albums during the ’00s. Sha was also affiliated with Tragedy Khadafi’s 25 II Life label under which he dropped some classic singles including “Three The Hard Way” with Headrush Napoleon. Killa Sha sadly died in 2010 due to complications from Diabetes and that put an end to any kind of reunion of the band. It’s a shame that mainstream labels never sought to sign the Killa Kidz, especially since according to Ruc Da Jackel, they recorded between 10 to 15 tracks which could have formed a full-length LP, an LP that underground heads would have appreciated back in the day. So regardless of what the mainstream thought or still thinks, the Killdren…

Killed It.

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