Remembering Killa Sha, Part 1


Photo: Alexander Richter

In case you’re not familiar with Killa Sha‘s legacy for some reason, here’s a quick run-down of his history in the rap game:

Prince A.D. was a true student of the rap game. When he was eleven, he was down with The Super Kids – a group of young upstarts put together by Marley Marl which featured Tragedy and Craig G. He wasn’t rapping at this stage, just hanging out with his boys. Years later he applied his quickly developing skills as a DJ to help out his friend from school Havoc and his rhyme partner Prodigy, who had just started a group called the Poetical Prophets. After winning ‘Unsigned Hype’ in The Source magazine and landing a deal with 4th & Broadway, they changed their name to Mobb Deep and recorded Juvenile Hell. DJ Prince A.D. performed the scratches on the album and spun for them at live shows.

By the time the Mobb signed with Loud Records for their next record, A.D. had focused his time on his own group, The Killa Kids. As the eldest member of the crew (whose line-up also included future Flipmode soldier Baby Sham), Sha expanded his repertoire to include production and rhyming. The crew released an independent EP and made a name for themselves but were unable to secure a major label deal. After re-connecting with his old friend Tragedy Khadafi, A.D. concentrated on his lyrical development and soon became the Intelligent Hoodlum‘s right-hand man, changing his name to Killa Sha and appearing on five tracks from the Against All Odds album. The world really started to take notice of him as an MC after he appeared on the track ‘WWT’ with Cam’Ron, The RZA and Trag.

In 2003 he dropped his first mixtape called The Black Eminem, but it would be another four years and two more tapes before his official solo album was released. GOD Walk On Water was a breath of fresh air, and I went as far as to name it as the best rap album of 2007. Since then, he joined Queens super-group The Outdoorsmen (which includes J-Love and Meyhem Lauren amongst it’s members), and the last I heard, Sha had completed work on both his second solo album – The Shepard – and an album with him and Large Professor sharing microphone duties.

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In April, 2008 I interviewed Sha for Hip-Hop Connection magazine and they sent photographer Alexander Richter to get some shots for the piece:

Sha Lumi lived with his grandma. I remember I had to call his house and I was talking to his grandmother, and his grandmother was telling me about, ‘Oh, I don’t know if he’ll be able to do the photographs at that time. He’s coming in from outta state and he’s working too hard and he’s out late at night…’ I was like, ‘This is hilarious!’ It was like you were literally talking to your grandmother about doing work and grandma was throwing in her two cents about, ‘Oh, I don’t know about this business! Late nights and he sleeps in…’ and all this stuff. I was like, ‘I’m sorry that this is how you feel about the music but is it possible to speak to Sha so that I can try to set-up a photo shoot please?’

Lumi also featured in an early Internets Celebrities video, where they mistook him for just another weed carrier, as Rafi explains:

We met Queensbridge rapper Killa Sha a few years back at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival. He was talking about being down with Marley Marl and Tragedy and instead of giving him his due respect for years in the game, I heard myself asking him if he carried their weed. At that point, 40 Diesel who’d brought Sha over to talk with us basically erupted in disbelief which was fantastic. Sha himself took the jab in stride and even closed his time with us with an answer: “And I don’t just hold the weed!”
You can catch our minute with Sha starting around 3:35 in the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival Lost Tapes video below:

LA Times writer and blogger Camilo Smith met the god while he was touring out west with frequent collaborator Large Professor:

I met Killa Sha on October, 12, 2008. It was a chilly Sunday night and Large P was performing at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood. I had a chance to go backstage and hit P with a quick 20 questions, when Sha walked up. I had no idea who he was, mostly because he was such an unassuming dude. He sported a fitted hat and over-sized jacket, and he looked like he had just come off a QB project bench earlier that day. What I liked about him was that he wasn’t on any glad rapper nonsense. Dude had a grim sensibility about him and really didn’t give a fuck who I was, or what newspaper I was writing for. Then again, maybe Cali’s finest was working its magic on him. Later, during P’s performance, Sha held down his spot on stage and spit on a couple songs. I think most of what Sha represented was lost on that tiny L.A. crowd. Hell, I really didn’t fully appreciate dude until Robbie started singing his praises. But I can say I saw a QB legend rock before his time on this earth ended. R.I.P

Part 2…


19 Comments so far
Leave a comment

An excellent piece Robbie.

Comment by CrateDigga78 01.20.10 @

Yeah watch all these crab now ride his coat tail after he gone.Dam shame he was mad nice with it, I always thought he was heavily slept on but I never knew he was Mobb Deep DJ that kind of surprised me.

p.s see if you can post some of them Stretch Armstrong freestyles.

Comment by CashRlue 01.20.10 @

He was in one of the Infamous Moob DVDs too,,, I remember him

Comment by napps126 01.20.10 @

Killa Sha was in “Tragedy – The Story Of Queensbridge” documentary, appears at 3.40. Man I have to cop his album that I’ve slept on!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yh2tRa09oM0

Comment by Matty Matt 01.20.10 @

damn. i remember talking to Large before they rocked…I wish somebody would come up with footage of the whole stage during Large/Sha’s set…Large had his eyes closed, fists clenched, arms in the air, smile from ear to ear, head to the sky, as if he just caught the holy ghost when Sha spit. Large is really a mad man, but I’ve never even seen him like that….Only a few will understand… I had the opportunity to be on the same bill as Sha numerous times…the God was a humble dude with a tremendous skill set. This is an L that def hit home. RIP LUMI THE GREAT.

Comment by SuperBADSolace 01.20.10 @

What happened? Somebody musta fired his ass up real quick…

Comment by Marcus2000 aka Marcus Robinson 01.20.10 @

Fuuuuuuck!!! This is the first i’ve heard of him dying.. Fucking hell…. 1 week ago, I put his name on a list of dream colabs… certainly a dream now. R.I.P. one of QB’s finest

Comment by Matt Bane 01.20.10 @

thanks.
i been a fan of killa sha since i first heard him on some tragedy mixtape joints back in the days.. dude was always nice. im just disapointed he never got his time to shine… hopefuly they release the last album he was working on… i definatly would love to hear that.
RIP Killa Sha…
peace.

Comment by - keka - 01.20.10 @

R.I.P to the god Sha Lumi. I am a fan and he was one of my favorites. I still can’t believe he passed. I was looking forward to the new album he was doing with large pro. He will be missed but I’m gonna be rockin’ his shit ’till the end.

R.I.P Lumi

Comment by Stylez 01.20.10 @

deep thoughts all day.not even nah right mentioned his passing.what a shame.

Comment by swordfish 01.21.10 @

Damn shame. Its messed up how nobody besides unkut and grandgood even offered their condolences but they all talking about a Phife benefit concert for his diabetes. Respect to robbie.

Comment by fuckyoblog 01.21.10 @

Much Love to Sha.He had blessed projects for me in the past and always kept his word(unlike assholes like Craig G).
I also had spoke to his GrandMoms on the horn before.Very nice and funny lady that really loved him and He and I had that in common with grandmoms who supported our music.
I was working on a song during his passing that he had written but had been too sick to record.I knew he was sick off and on but he always got better.
Meyhem Lauren did his verse,Tom Gist did his verse and the last verse was going to be Sha’s 16.
He had even emailed last week to let me know he hadn’t forgotten about me.
Man that’s humbling as sick as he was and he wanted me to know he hadn’t forgotten me.
I CONSIDERED SHA A FRIEND AND I MISS HIM DEARLY.
Much love to the two people he loved the most his “Nana” and his Daughter.
Sha never once made excuses of being too sick to do a song.
We love you Shannon and will never forget you.
One love-
DJ DAVITO
http://www.myspace.com/DavitosWay

Comment by DJ DAVITO 01.21.10 @

Real sad news, didn’t wanna believe it when I heard. I think you put me onto Sha via Unkut Robbie, so thanx for that. Since then i’ve gone and copped all his material he had a hand in, right back to Super Kids 12″ and shit. He just sounded so sick on the mic, real talk. Something that a lot of emcees are missing these days, you could tell he loved to spit and always came with the venom. Was looking forward to that Large Pro album, makes me sad when the greats pass on, especially when they don’t seem to have got the recognition they truly deserved.
Rest In Peace Sha Lumi, sadly missed…

Comment by Disorda 01.22.10 @

Thanks Davito for sharing – I didn’t know Sha personally, but I haven’t been more moved in any other artists/rappers passing – feeling sadness inside of me…
Here’s what J-Love had to say in memory of his good friend and partner :

AS MOST OF YOU KNOW AND TO THOSE WHO DONT WE LOST A GOOD M.C. , FRIEND , FATHER , PERSON AND OUTDOORSMEN IN THE DEATH OF KILLA SHA. ADAM LARKIN WAS ONE OF THOSE RAPPERS WHO MORE TALENT THEN THE AVERAGE RAPPER IN THE GAME AND NEVER
REALLY GOT HIS JUST DUE. AS FOR THAT I WILL PLAY MY PART IN KEEPING HIS LEGACY ALIVE. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WERE HIS FRIEND OR FAN I ASK YOU KEEP HIS MUSIC AND MEMORY ALIVE. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO BECAME A NEW FAN NOW SAD BUT I GUESS BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. BUT TO THOSE OF YOU WITH THAT FAKE LOVE AND SUCKER INDUSTRY BULLSHIT NOW BECAUSE NOW HE A STORY FOR BULLSHIT WEBSITE/BLOGSITE AND DJS WHO WANNA PLAY HIS MUSIC NOW WHO NEVER GAVE A FUCK BEFORE STAY ON THE FAKE SHIT YOU WAS ON. DONT PLAY MY DUDES MUSIC NOW!!!!!!!!!! STAY ON YOU FAKE SHIT HE CANT REAP THE BENEFITS NOW AND YOU DIDNT CARE TO SUPPORT HIS MOVEMENT WHEN HE WAS HERE SO YOUR SUPPORT IS NOT NEEDED.

HIS WAKE WILL BE HELD ON SUNDAY JAN 24TH 2010
AT
Trumbo Funeral Chapel
100 Saint Nicholas Ave
Btw 116 & 115 st
Time: 3pm -7pm
212-662-3771

YOU CAN PAY YOUR RESPECTS THERE AND THEN

ONE LOVE TO MY DUDE UPSTAIRS

Comment by Blanco 01.22.10 @

Sha Da God, one of the greats.

WIll be playing his mixtapes and God Walk On Water to keep the mans memory alive

damn shame :(

Comment by AFFEX 01.22.10 @

yeah well sorry to put even more of a damper on the day but RIP APACHE..he jus passed today…im from jersey and grew up on flavor unit…peace

Comment by money mercilesz 01.22.10 @

RIP APACHE as of todat Peace to Jerseys great Flavor unit

Comment by money mercilesz 01.22.10 @

SHA BABY, YOU LIVE ON, KNOW DAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Agent Guevara 01.23.10 @

i just wanna say r.i.p to killa sha man never met him but knew him through his music all i listen to is queens shit and sha lumi is one of my favorite artist from the bridge including tragedy. i just found out about his death and had to put out my thoughts of the god and his craft he was a ill mc and will be missed ya#1 fan killa cory peace.

Comment by killa cory 02.16.10 @

Damn, yearz later still miss Sha Lumi. Juz visited dis spot to pay respect n reminisce. He was a Golden Era Soldier. Nothing like these fake fuck, dime-a-dozen rapperz dat be straight garbage bruz.
Peace to tha GOD. Let his legacy live on thru artist like Tragedy, Large P, and others reppin’ dat Golden Era properly. peace out from Down Under
Australia. RobRoc…BludFlowGang.

Comment by RobRoc 02.15.14 @



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