Life sometimes affords us second chances. Such is the case with hip-hop lyricist KYD (“killing your demographic”) Works (Hassan Barrow). Hailing from the Boogie Down Bronx, NY until relocating to Westchester County when he was 6 years old, KYD Works had a strong family foundation, growing up with his mother, aunt, grandmother and cousins. He started rapping at 14 years of age, battling other rappers at 16, and pretty much had a smooth life, until things began to get bumpy for him, causing a lot of downhill moments for the young KYD Works. He ultimately journeyed into the correctional system, with his first case at age 16. He subsequently went through the correctional system for three years, at 22, which took him off the grid for a while. However, his period of incarceration afforded him ample time to regroup, refocus and map out his plans for the future.
An introspective person, he believes that everything happens for a reason. And unlike so many others, he followed through with his exit plan, recording and releasing his first mixtape, “Stress Test, Volume 3,” two weeks after his release.
A formidable young man, KYD Works could have opted for a path other than rap music. At 6’3” and 223 lbs., he studied nutrition at Westchester Community College, and is a trained, qualified sports, fitness and wellness trainer. It’s a career skill that he often still utilizes, and has his own successful fitness company. He also studies Global Business. Multi-talented and self-made, he is also a proficient vocalist, and sings most of his own hooks in his rap songs. And to make ample use of another one of his talents, he’s also the Hip-Hop Coordinator at radio station 88.1FM WARY and also hosts a show on the station called DYNASTY DAYS MORNING XPERIENCE.
However, music moves KYD Works’ soul, and is his passion. Putting his creative juices to consistent use, he has 400 songs under his belt, from which to choose the 18 gems that will comprise his next mixtape, which he’s dubbed “The Lost.” He will also release an EP called “Rise of The Lost.” His songs are fact-based, covering his experiences and personal beliefs, with his rhymes reflecting both the dark and the light side of his life.
KYD Works is active with an organization called “Stop, Don’t Shoot,” which he got involved with through an associate that he’s known since he was a teen. The organization stresses that most violence, regardless of who causes it, takes place due to the “inappropriate use of firearms.” They hope to get celebrities involved as well, to spread the important message about anti-gun-violence.
KYD Works’ squad is called L.D.L.E.G, meaning “Lost Dynasty League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” In it, there are in-house producers Years Lata, Julius Myth, Benny Deveaux (featured on party track “Get Loose”), Vivify and Downstate. Also in the L.D.L.E.G crew are vocalist Jamal Ray and rappers Dolla Billz and 20 year old J Clyde.
KYD Works wants to effect change, and sees that in his future. A self-determined man, it’s certain that he will, as he did with his own life, make significant inroads toward some societal changes. He’s well on his way toward that goal, recognizing that his second chance was a gift, which he can now bestow on others.
HipHopLead- Man it’s been almost 4 years since we had a chance to chop it up with you. Last time we spoke you were in prison and couldn’t wait to get out. Now you are out and … well we’ll let you tell it… (tell them what u been up to)
K.Y.D. Works- That’s a fact, it’s been a while. Since I came home I have started a radio show, a fitness company, got my music on spotify, itunes, rhapsody, etc. Full time college, heading up the “Don’t Shoot” program and grindin at the speed of light.
HipHopLead- How hard was it to transition back into normal life after being locked up?
K.Y.D. Works- It wasn’t for me, I was preparing since the day I went in to make moves when I got out. I didn’t look for handouts, I built everything I said I would one brick at a time.
HipHopLead- For those that don’t know, what was your charge and how many years did you again?
K.Y.D. Works- I had an armed robbery charge, got 3½ and did 3 out of it.
HipHopLead- Without dwelling on it to long tell us your most inspirational experience and the worst experience you can think of in Prison?
K.Y.D. Works- Worst experience was dealing with crooked C.O’s, racism, and bozo inmates. The most inspirational was being around lifers that had hope, gave knowledge, and weren’t confined by the physical realm.
HipHopLead- How has the climate of Hiphop changed since you went in and came out?
K.Y.D. Works- Shit flipped crazy, fashion is fucked to me, cats callin themselves thugs runnin around like a princess in a tutu. Up north we knew who was who for the most part. Out here it looks like cats are confused and delusional. Hip Hop has always been more than music, it’s a culture, in my opinion there is too much fuck boy shit going on.
HipHopLead- So you got a radio show now, tell us about that and where they can hear.
K.Y.D. Works- The show broadcast to the lower Westchester county 914. I’m on 88.1 FM alongside my bro Doo Doo Boy Fuge that host SRL (Sophisticated Ratchet Life) Monday nights on the same station. We aren’t online with show yet, but it’s in the works.
HipHopLead- About two years ago we heard and reviewed your “Stress Test” mixtape. It was very dope! What’s up next, album or mixtape?
K.Y.D. Works- Good looking. Next up for the mixtape is “The Lost”, that is my warm up for the EP, “Rise Of The Lost”.
HipHopLead- Tell us about L.D.L.E.G. and what is your plans for the team?
K.Y.D. Works- L.D.L.E.G is Lost Dynasty’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The plans are a team mixtape, more shows, videos, and solo projects for the artist.
HipHopLead- How does it feel when people say you sound like A$AP Rocky? Is it frustrating because you are older, and we actually heard you before him. It seems like he popped up when you were locked up…
K.Y.D. Works- Eh. That shit don’t phase me, there are similarities, but we are quite different when you really listen. I don’t have to compete with him because our lane ain’t the same. He popped while I was up north and it just let me know that I was ahead of my time, because my 2007 sound was his 2010. I’m on a whole new level now. I’m ready to have the next up play catch up.
Hiphoplead- Speaking of ASAP, and I know you mentioned it before, but what’s really good with these rappers wearing skirts?!
K.Y.D. Works- Cats are having an identity crisis, doing too much to appeal to people that have little to no respect for us. Rap was once feared and revered, now a lot of it is a fucking joke. I don’t see expression or artistry with a lot of cats. I see a minstrel show, clowns, dudes wearing “black face.” The shit is sad to me.
HipHopLead- We saw ya video for “Motha***kin Money”, you were going in. Sounds like it was aimed at someone (laughs). You seem a little more aggressive since you came out. What inspired that track and did anyone ever tell you you’ve got a Snoop type of sound but with some East Coast flavor?
K.Y.D. Works- I aim at whoever. I didn’t get into this to make friends, I chase money, I have a family, and if you ain’t for me, LDLEG, and the GAINS GANG, than you are against us. My motto, fuck wit us or fuck off! (laughs) Yeah, I have been told I have an east coast snoop type flow on certain tracks. I take that as a compliment. Shout out to uncle Snoop.
HipHopLead-Outside of music we see you got your fitness and weight training going on. Can you tell us how you got into that field and is that your primary plan, or back up plan, if music doesn’t pan out?
K.Y.D. Works- I got into it before my time up north and concentrated on it while I was there. The mind, body and spirit must be equally strong to reach higher levels in this realm and GAINS GANG is not a back-up plan, it goes hand in hand with my music career. Look at me and look at these other cats, they ain’t on my level. Now I’m getting my bro Blake (follow @MANONAMISSION7 @BLAKESLIFE_7) ready for his first competition. I have a team full of beasts, we rise together and we shine together. It’s Us or Them.
HipHopLead- So it’s 2015 and many things change. Has your long term goals changed for Hiphop or what’s the plan now?
K.Y.D. Works- I have improved on my plans and added new elements, this is business and the bottom line is revenue. My long term plans are to continue to grow my fitness company, and push this music everywhere so that the world knows what it is and will be.
HipHopLead- It was great chopping it up with you again bro and we are glad to see you are one of the few artists we talk too who actually did what they said they would when you got out. Major props for that. The floor is yours, let em know where to get at you..
K.Y.D. Works- No doubt fam, thank you for the platform and the love. Ya’ll been with me since day one. Check me on soundcloud.com/kyd_works follow me on IG/TWITTER @KYDWORKS, FACEBOOK KYD WORKS, youtube.com/theonekyd and check out radio interviews I have done by googling KYD Works interviews.