Written By Angie Vargas
K-Riz, aka Jerome Henry, is an artist originally from Toronto but currently living in Edmonton, Alberta. His dad lives in Calgary, making him go back and forth often, so he represents Edmonton as well as Calgary. K-Riz started making music when he was approximately 15 years old. At this young age, Jerome picked up the pen and fell in love with the therapeutic release of hip hop songwriting. For him, this was a natural skill that simply “runs in the family”. K-Riz’ dad was a hiphop DJ in Edmonton, just as the genre started coming up in Alberta. His uncle, E-Dot, was an artist under Ill Bill’s label: Uncle Howie Records. His grandfather used to play jazz, his younger brother is also a rapper/DJ and his older sister sings. With all this talent in his blood, K-Riz released his most recent EP, ‘The Room’, on December 18th of 2020.
‘The Room’ is a flavourful, unique and raw EP. To my interpretation, this EP is named after our own human ability to grow and expand. As the saying goes: “there’s always room for growth”. ‘The Room’ has 5 tracks produced by JDats, a producer from Edmonton, with a unique variety of conscious and chill hip hop beats. When I first listened to the EP, I was amazed by the intro. As I listened through, I could only appreciate each song more than the previous one. Within the EP, we can hear K-Riz’ jazz and hip hop influences from the 90’s. Some hip hop influences such as Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, Eminem, Pharrell and the Neptunes and Timberland can be heard in this project. K-Riz’ EP features great local artists such as Yolanda Sargeant (Calgarian singer), Yod Dior (his nephew and local rapper) and Octavio Santos (Canadian trumpet player).
When I was listening to ‘The Room’ and I reached Kobaiyashi (ft. Yod Dior), I was amazed. The video game and electronic dance music type beat was a buoyant, energetic addition to the EP. JDats, beats are “demanding and challenging” as K-Riz would describe them, pushing the rapper out of his comfort zone. ‘God First’, the last song in the EP, starts with a trumpet solo, played by Octavio Santos and it gives the song a soulful flair. Octavio, from Toronto, has been showcased in multiple mixtapes and has worked with producers such as Evil Needle. K-Riz noticed Octavio’s name credited in these tapes and realized that they have been friends on Facebook for years. K-Riz reached out afterwards and they have been working together ever since. ‘God First’ has a Sunday morning vibe that can elevate anyone’s mood. The lyrics to this spiritual song begin with K-Riz reflecting on the way that he has been looking for his life’s purpose. He reflects on the way he has been searching outwards and observes our global situation, declaring that “so many people lost their lives this year” and meditating on what is really important in life. In this track, K-Riz illustrated a personal accident that in “2.5 seconds” changed his life and his perspective on it. The song has a merry beat but reflective in nature, a great combo for this honest spiritual track.
K-Riz’ talent is undeniable. He gives flavour to the lyrical rap scene in Alberta. In the summer of 2021, he will be releasing his originally planned EP “Peace and Love”. The intro of ‘The Room’ which was originally supposed to be in his next EP, was recorded on Jan 1st of 2020. The intention from the intro was to have a great year, as most of us planned, before the COVID pandemic hit. ‘The Room’ is an honest project of how the year really went; however, ‘Peace and Love’ is recorded and ready to be released this summer. We look forward to the summer, to hear more of what K-Riz and his team has to offer!
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