KJ Hines

Prince of the City

KJ Hines
Photo By Oscar Garcia

As an established 17-year-old rap professional, KJ Hines spares little time for irresponsibility. Managed out of Cedar Park by his father, Walter Hines, KJ's burgeoning entertainment career insists on the proliferation of positive ideals. Whether rapping, singing, or playing piano, he channels everything in his power to squash negative stereotypes too often imposed upon young African-American men.

"When you see a rapper, you shouldn't automatically assume that he's a gangsta just based off of how he looks or what he's wearing," frowns KJ. "That's certainly not what I'm about, yet people seem to make that false assumption time and time again."

Gaining his first taste for show business at the age of 11 in a touring church choir, Hines set his musical sights for the sky and benefited early and often from the unyielding support of his parents. With piano lessons feeding his aptitude for teenage rap, the teen's calculating mind and impulsive voice did the rest. It quickly became apparent to his father that showcasing such talent was an imperative.

"When we were watching KJ grow up and develop musically," indicates Walter Hines, "the question we kept asking ourselves was, 'Why in the world would we not invest in our child?'"

Beyond his self-released 2006 album, Capital City, the video for its title track, and road gigs opening for Lil Wayne and Lil' Flip, KJ's latest chaperoned adventure emerged as a trip to the West Bank of New Orleans for a cameo appearance in a Baby Boy video. When an appreciation of meeting genius producer Mannie Fresh can be enthusiastically shared by father and son, all concepts of a generation gap fly out the tour-van window.

"As far as my dad being so involved in my life," boasts KJ, "I look at it as a blessing. I'm extra glad he's not a drill sergeant about it."

Motivating himself as a lyricist, Hines often begins a verse chanting simply only to shift gears into full-fledged arpeggios of double-timed flow. On "Daily Grind," Houston's Kiotti joins him for a whirlwind exploration of how to wreck a beat assembled to withstand hurricane gusts by Elgin's Big Bailey. Rapping at jaw-dropping speeds and playing piano at the same time completes the KJ Hines package. At present.

"Ultimately, I try to teach a lesson with my raps," he concludes with a confident glimmer in his eye. "Right now, I'm keeping it fun, since people my age mostly want to dance and let loose. When I get older, I can be more like Mr. Blakes."

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