The Ourtunez Backstage Pass is a weekly series where we introduce an artist exclusive to Ourtunez. This week, we talked to Soul Khan and his ascendence from a viral battle rapper to an explosive artist. You can check him out on our Indie Rap Station on Ourtunez.com
Brooklyn-based MC Soul Khan is making big waves in the hip-hop community, and doing it all the right way. His music is a true reflection on his nature; staying true to his roots, never being trendy, venomous to his enemies, sometimes goofy, speaking on real life issues, and being humble.
Noah Weston was born in the Los Angeles area and moved to up-state New York in 2003 for college. Upon graduating he moved to Brooklyn in 2007. “My West Coast roots influence me through the California artists I listened to (everybody from Ice Cube to the Pharcyde to Ras Kass) to my once very tranquil temperament, which has cracked with age and involvement in a decaying world.” His number one influence is Stevie Wonder.
Soul Khan rose to fame through being an internationally renown battle rapper. He started battling seriously in 2008. Videos of him humiliating his foes went viral, and people around the world saw his raw talent. “I was definitely shocked when my battles took off. It was a pleasant surprise but a phase I’m glad to have moved on,” Soul Khan said. When asked if he missed the battle scene, which he left in 2010 to focus on his studio career, he said, “Nah. But I’m grateful to have made an impression.”
Since leaving the battle scene, Soul Khan has released an album, Soul Like Khan, and a series of four mixtapes (all on Ourtunez) and joined the Brown Bag All Stars, a group of producers and MCs from Brooklyn. He’s played at some of the biggest music festivals in America, Bonnaroo and SXSW. He is currently working on a song with Lupe Fiasco and the Justice League and is on famed turntablist Q-Bert’s upcoming album.
Soul Khan’s style is nostalgic and modern at the same time. Hip-hop fans old and new can relate to his music. His topics include anything from politics/economics to faults of the human condition. One of his songs, “Morning Alone” tells a deep tale of a lonely widow. Such songs remind us of Pac’s “Brenda’s Got a Baby”, a poetic, soulful song that tells us the woe of an individual. In another song, “Alec Baldwin” Soul Khan displays his insane rhythm and flow he’s mastered over the years. His baritone vocals give power to his message.
2014 is going to be a big year for Soul Khan. He is dropping 2 albums this year, one free and the other for money. “The free one is more sample-driven and blisteringly vicious rappity raps to melt everybody’s flesh and bury my enemies and the paid one is a stadium boombap project that seeks to unite underground and mainstream spheres of listeners.” We’re more than thrilled to see what 2014 has in store for this true artist.
What makes Soul Khan a special artist, outside of his music, is his humility. Independent artists like him are loyal to their fans. Although he doesn’t miss battle rapping, he is thankful for the opportunities it has given him. “Can’t be mad at the good fortune I’ve enjoyed. More talented people than I have had way fewer opportunities.” Despite being in a genre dominated by fads, cockiness, and ignorance, Soul Khan keeps it real.
-Nino Munaco (firstname.lastname@example.org), Ourtunez Editor