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(Article) King Henry is The Future of Hip SOUL

Articles, Cover Story, Features, Interviews 1 March 04, 2014 675 Loso

Written by: Ms Niki of Houston TREND

IMG_2035 copyWire Road Studios is where you can find the rising Houston producer, who goes by the moniker, King Henry. An engineer, producer and DJ, King Henry is creating his own flavor of music, which in time will resonate with us all. His objective to brilliantly merge hip-hop and soul, has now become his passion, King Henry takes you through his world of Hip SOUL.

Off the brink of his beat competition, in NYC, The Maschine Experience, put on by Henry’s good friend and mentor Ski Beatz, he’s currently working with funny man and musically talented, Phil Wade on Phil’s up and coming project. “We went to school together and we hooked up musically off some fluke stuff and I was still developing my craft at the time and our styles kind of meshed from day one. We did a couple of albums together and then went on to do our own separate things and he came back and hit me and wanted me to produce his album and from there it just took off. His album is crazy. I didn’t expect it, but I knew it could happen, with how our styles mesh.”

King Henry, a St. Louis native, is a part of the panther pride, graduating from Prairie View A&M University. PV being the start into Henry’s producing career as well as hearing one of Hip Hops greatest contributors, Kanye West. “College Dropout made me want to start making beats. My roommate had given me a program and College Dropout had just came out. I was in my dorm just going through different songs and I saw how he sample a lot of stuff and I knew a lot of music that would sound good sampled and I said let me just start making beats and they weren’t any good by any means at first, but I knew I could always do better and really just people doubting me. I wanted people to know who I was and what I did and not just some other guy that made beats. I wanted them to say he makes fire!”

Now King Henry is making fire, as well as substantial noise in his craft, even with being underrated, Henry has still managed to receive the recognition that’s he’s been deserving of for some time now. “I’ve been the underdog for a while, now my name is getting out there from winning beat battles. I’ve won in New Orleans, NY and two here and people are hearing raw beats at these battles and from those competitions, it started to filter out into peoples’ conversations. I’ve been doing this for about 10 years and it’s just now getting to that point where people know who I am, they know that guy right there, he makes beats.”

IMG_2014 copyvKing Henry’s love for music exudes through his beats, no one beat sounding exactly alike, making it hard to be duplicated, only allowing him room to make the next beat incredible and allows him to transition from producer mode to DJ mode when it’s time. “DJing just came naturally from my love of music and knowing what should be played. Nobody taught me it just came naturally, I just like doing it. Whenever I DJ, I just go. If I’m making a sample track, I just dig for music and it turns into whatever from there and I feel like what these beats turn into is nothing but God. I don’t even know how some of them come out. I’ll go back and listen to some of the beats I’ve done in the past and I’m like I wouldn’t be able to remake this. If I tried today, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

In this dominated hip hop culture of either hardcore rap beats and the evolution of turn up music, King Henry’s style of beat making seems to be what’s lacking, not only in the industry, but more so in the south. Hip Soul breathes a different type of life into hip hop music, giving a new flare on a seasoned genre. “My genre is called Hip Soul something me and Phil created, it’s a mix with a lot of hip hop type beats, but its really soulful. It will remind you of something in the past, but it has that new feeling. A sound that you self-consciously bring up. A feeling of good vibes even though the beat still has you rocking.”

IMG_1975 copyvSo imagine Hip Soul in a beat battle. By now, King Henry has mastered that level to continuously win these beat battles, with Hip Soul type of beats. “You have to hit them early with whatever is in your beat. You have to hit them early and then they will fall in love with the beat more less than just wanting to dance with it. If you have a beat that will make people fall in love with it, just the feeling of it, it doesn’t matter what the other person plays.”

Being a Hip Soul producer allows King Henry the ability to fluctuate as an artist too and work with other artists to help extract a more creative style out of them that encourages them to still be who they are, but add different layers to their musical composition. That’s the job of a well-rounded producer.  “A producer is supposed to mold their sound into that artist. Look at Pharrell and 2 Chainz; they made a song that jams and it was his style, but Pharrell was all over that song with his style of beats. That’s what you are supposed to do, collaborate and make something that is part you and part them. For those who are not open they won’t make it. People have to learn how to adapt. You have to be able to work with a Pharrell or a Timberland, you can’t say you’re not going to work with someone because he doesn’t make your type of beat. You won’t make it. I have a song with Trae [Tha Truth] that we haven’t released yet and it’s not his typical, but it worked.”

With as many productions and competitions King Henry has won, modest is something that he will always remain. No matter how good he is in his craft and how great of a producer he knows he is and the amount of talent he possesses to produce for many of the greats and those to come, King Henry will remain that diffident and humble producer, who’s doubted, but won’t let that stop him from taking Hip Soul to the next level. “I think I will always be an underdog because when you’re waving an unfamiliar flag, it’s always doubt because people are afraid of what they don’t know, understand or are familiar with. So when I come out waving that type of flag, that’s not a trap flag or an R&B flag, it puts me at a disadvantage. Even if I won a Grammy, I still feel like I will be an underdog. I’m just use to being doubted. I try not to have that attitude where I say I’m going to do this just so I can show them. I feel like that bad energy will come back on me negatively. Naturally I think as humans that comes out and I try not to do that.”

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Even with this new wave of beat making, King Henry is devoted to making Hip Soul known worldwide and not being afraid to push the envelope on this genre of music, yet the journey hasn’t always been a swift one to tote, he has kept his mindset on full throttle, negating any nay sayers. “I’ve been discouraged but never wanted to quit. You have people discounting you and not really respecting what you are doing. People would be like “Oh” that’s east coast and we’re in Houston. It’s all about swanging, but I’m at a point where I don’t care. I don’t care much about what people think on what I’m doing and what kind of music I’m making because I know where I’m going and what I want it to be.” And with fans spanning across the globe such as London, Australia and Japan, there is no point in stopping his musical genius. “I’m trying to go worldwide. I want to be able to go to Japan and they know what Hip Soul is.”

Hosting a new grown and sexy chill spot, Lounge Life at Café 4212, every Wednesday, working on creating classics and gearing up for SXSW international beat competition, King Henry is focused and enjoying the ride, awaiting the moment to take his talents to the next level and city. “Its grind time!”


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