Nanakuli’s in the house
Rapper Kris Ancheta -- aka Krystilez -- puts out a must-have CD of local-style hip-hop
Kris Ancheta wants you to know that he's just a straight-up local boy from Nanakuli trying to make something of himself.
He's says this because if you only knew him through his rapping alter ego, Krystilez, you'd probably give him some distance, thinking he was "some crazy, hardened criminal."
Krystilez 'The O' CD release party
On stage: 10 p.m. Saturday (doors open at 9 p.m.)
Place: Pipeline Cafe, 805 Pohukaina St.
Cover: $10; $12 ages 18 to 20
But Ancheta has focused his creative energy away from the drug-driven street crime scene and honed it like a laser beam into his rhymes.
The name Krystilez was established with hip-hop fans -- and ultimate fighting enthusiasts -- with the song "Bloodline." Ancheta's a bit surprised that a song "basically about scrapping" (albeit a rousing one that local fighters have used to spur their entrances into the ring) is also one of the top Hawaiian music downloads on sites such as iTunes and Rhapsody.
" 'Bloodline' tells of a part of my life when me and my boys were partying hard. It seemed that every other party we went to, there would be a scrap. It's my anthem for fighting in these ghetto country places. But, more important, it's about respect, to be proud of where you're from. I feel that way about us locals. It's not just about being aggro. We just want respect. But at the end of the day, my music is all fun. You gotta grow up and get over it."
"Bloodline," plus the potential club party-hearty hit "Shake," can be found on Krystilez's latest album, "The O," released last month. Other posse members from his Tiki Entertainment ohana will share the stage at a release party Saturday night -- guys with the equally inspired monikers of Parc Cyde, Suger D, IZ REAL, Des-10, J Bird, Keyz, and his main man and producer, Samson Malani, aka Spookahuna.
Tiki's become a force in local hip-hop, with 12 albums already in its growing catalog. (Krystilez's new album is a follow-up to his debut of a couple of years ago, "The Greatest HI.")
"I'm happy for Hawaiian hip-hop these days. It's been out for a while, and we're finally banding all the locals together," he said.
The music is even bringing radio stations together for the common good. Although Krystilez can also be heard as a disc jockey on Hot 93.9, his station's competition in the local "rhythmic contemporary" radio market, Da Bomb 102.7, is co-sponsoring his CD release party.
"I put a lot of sweat into this album," Ancheta said. And you can hear the effort, as "The O" becomes one of that small number of must-have Hawaiian hip-hop CDs, along the lines of previous efforts from Emirc and Creed Chameleon.
With the crucial help of Spookahuna, the album blows up with such tracks as the Eastern-flavored "Who's That" and the crystal meth-driven story of "Diamonds." The four consecutive songs that finish up "The O" take the album strong to the finish line: the dance groove of "Makin' Me Flip," segueing into the steamy "How Bad Do You Want It" (inspired sound effects and a back-and-forth with guest "Waianae girl" Kim Vilamero), "The Way It Is" ("puttin' the H-I in hip-hop") and the aforementioned "Bloodline."
THE 24-YEAR-OLD Filipino, "born, raised, and still living in Nanakuli," remembers writing his first rhyme in the ninth grade. Before, it was Hawaiian and '80s music, but he fell hard for hip-hop through such inspirations as the Wu-Tang Clan, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and E-40, back in his pre-"hyphy" days.
Ancheta chose to be called Krystilez, based on his real first name, plus "there's a jiggy meaning to it, like the champagne Cristal, and an underground hip-hop 'stilez' part to it."
His album's title also has several meanings. "It can stand for ounce, the hustling of the drug trade. It could stand for Oahu. And the letter's shape stands for the rap cypher, when guys stand around in a circle and spit verses."
Krystilez weaves the rough parts of island life into his raps. With "Diamonds," he said he feels "the ice epidemic is not bad now because of a tougher crackdown on it. I've come across a lot of tweakers in my life, and I've learned they're just people, some good people, but just meth addicts. Even though there are some real evil ones out there, they're not all bad, from what I saw."
As for Ancheta, he's out to prove that "I'm a versatile emcee, someone who can rap over anything, any variety of sound. I feel Hawaiian hip-hop represents our big melting pot, where the mixture of different nationalities and cultures comes across in the music."