I don’t know if it was anything necessarily different. I just worked really, really hard to stay in people’s faces, so it would be hard to forget about me. I’m just trying to stay popular and do the same thing over and over. I think that consistency kind of makes what I do gravitate towards becoming a movement. Honestly, I’m just consumed by the work. Everyday, I’m trying to come up with new stuff and do new things. I don’t take time off. I’m always recording and working on my brand beyond just the music. I just try to keep that connection to normalcy. I never want to lose that, being normal. People connect with me just as a cool, around-the-way type of guy. I never want to confuse people or go over their heads.
I started getting tattoos when I was, like, 16—that’s when I got my first one. My mom actually took me to go get it. I got it on my left arm. It’s the name of the first rap group that I was in.
That name was given to me by my granddad. In the Muslim religion, khalifa means “spread the word.” It’s about the word, the message, and the impact that I’m having on people’s lives.
Every artist picks what they want to put out there, what image they want to portray, and what they want people to know about where they’re from. There are a lot of different types of people in Pittsburgh. There are a lot of different things going on as far as art and the communities. There’s pop, there’s rap, there’s everything. There is also the darker, street side to Pittsburgh, but I just choose not to elaborate on that. What I bring is more fun and positive—an outside, worldly feel. But being from Pittsburgh, you have room to make up your own sound. People don’t have expectations. We’re not as East Coast in Pittsburgh as people are in Philly, so our vibe is just a little bit different. We’re a little bit more country, more Midwest in general. We have a different way about us when it comes down to music. The beats are really melodic and musical, but they’re still really heavy. They just ride out, almost like down South mixed with West Coast
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