Post Malone is from the Dallas area. Slim Thug is from Houston. But when it comes to hip hop artists from Texas, people don’t usually think of Killeen as a place that produces an abundance of talent.
Kempner resident William White loves music though, and is trying to change that. He helped organize what he called the first-ever rap cypher with artists from Killeen. The 12-minute music video that features verses from 14 rappers was posted to Facebook on July 7. It has already been viewed more than 66,000 times as of Wednesday. That’s more success than White could have imagined.
“The last five years, I’ve been really involved with all the artists out there,” he said. “I know Killeen has a lot of violence out there, so I wanted to get everyone out there together.”
The cypher — which is a term used to describe a group of rappers who’ve gathered to perform together musically — is just the first of several, if White has his wish. He said the response has been overwhelmingly positive, and the Belton-based hip hop radio station B-106 shared the cypher on its website and Facebook page.
Many of the issues that residents have voiced concern about are referenced throughout the cypher’s verses. Patrick Cross — who goes by the stage name Profit Zone — starts his verse off with the line “See, I come from a city where murders don’t get solved.”
10 HOMICIDES IN KILLEEN
There have been 10 homicides in Killeen this year, and Killeen police have not made any arrests in connection to five, including the first four. Residents have been particularly vocal about the deaths of Eric Hill and Harry “Butch” Polite, killed within the first month of the year.
White said that he intended for the cypher to be a positive thing for the community, and he said by uniting rappers from all over the city, he’s been able to break down some barriers. Not all of the lyrics are playful or catchy though. One rapper who goes by the name Brother Redd references one of the darker moments in Killeen recent history.
“Try me with the no-knock, I’m Marvin Guy, you Dinwiddie” Redd raps.
That refers to the shooting death of Killeen detective Charles “Chuck” Dinwiddie. Guy is charged with one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted capital murder after he exchanged gunfire with members of the Killeen Police Department SWAT team during a shootout with police on May 9, 2014. That led to Dinwiddie, a leader on the police department’s special weapons and tactics team, being fatally shot in the face.
The shootout occurred when officers tried to serve a no-knock warrant at Guy’s apartment on Circle M Drive in Killeen.
“From the get go, I wanted it to be a positive thing,” White said. “Hip hop culture, it’s not always glamorous and pleasant, but a lot of what these guys talk about in their verses, it’s what they’ve seen or what they’ve been a part of. It’s real, this is what some of the artists have gone through.”
The team behind the video is already talking about putting out more videos. The beat producer Joshua Lequerica (also known as DrummaBeatz), video director Derek Cunningham and White have already talked to the studio producer Carlos Finklea about part two. The next step might include talking to rappers from Temple, and get a friendly battle going.
“We’re going to come together and hope it bridges the gap between the two 254 cities,” White said. “You never know what could happen, maybe it could lead to bigger talent. I just want music to get out there. Maybe migrate to Waco, you never know.”