Filed under: Features,In The Trenches,Killa Queens,Killa Sha Special,Not Your Average,Rest In Peace
Written by: Robbie Ettelson
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.
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
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