You may know Fort Worth native Donovan Payne by many names: BraingangKilla, K.MC, or perhaps 88 Killa. The hip-hop lyricist adopted his new stage name 88 Killa and is now signed on with music agency/record label DEFDISCO. Payne dropped his debut EP “88 Karats” last December, and his sophomore EP “88 BPM” will release on Friday Aug. 5.
Payne grew up listening to Michael Jackson, Cam’ron, Kirk Franklin, and Earth Wind and Fire. His smooth and melodic sound stems from a variety of musical influences such as soul, ‘90s R&B, ‘60s rock ‘n roll, and east/west coast hip-hop. Since “88 BPM,” Payne has made waves in the DFW music scene, and he’s got more projects coming your way.
Interview questions by ChinLin Pan
Thank you for your time! Let’s start with how you got into the music industry. How was that journey for you?
88 Killa: I want to say it was probably around 2006 when I first started finding studios and promoters and got my start performing at random open mics throughout the city. It definitely has been an emotional roller coaster and will one day make a really good VH1 behind the music special, haha.
Your debut EP “88 Karats” released last December. Now your next EP “88 BPM” comes out on Aug. 5. What was the inspiration behind “88 BPM” and how is it different from “88 Karats”?
88 Killa: The inspiration behind “88 BPM” was life and I wouldn’t say it’s different from “88 Karats.” I would say it’s more of like a part two of “88 Karats.” “88 BPM” is more of me expanding on the sound, message, and vibe that people who have been supporting me from day one love.
You’ve gone by “BraingangKilla” and “K.MC.” What made you decide on “88 Killa”?
88 Killa: I felt like it was time for a new name change, because I was feeling a different energy and wanted a fresh start. Re-branding myself was one of the smartest things I’ve done so far and who knows, as I continue to grow, I’ll probably re-brand again.
To anyone who isn’t familiar with your work, how would you describe your music in three words?
88 Killa: Vintage, honest, cool.
It’s interesting to hear how local artists come to fruition in their music careers. What advice would you give to aspiring music artists?
88 Killa: My biggest advice is for music artists it to always trust your gut and nurture all of your genuine/positive relationships. I would also say–stop overthinking. There aren’t any rules to this game so quit acting like you have to follow any.
Do you have any upcoming projects after “88 BPM”?
88 Killa: Yes, after “88 BPM,” “G88Keeper” (read gatekeeper) will be my first album that I will give to the people.
Can you talk a little bit about co-founding the Dallas-based hip-hop collective Brain Gang Misfits?
88 Killa: Long story short: we were a group of guys that felt that the city needed a change and each person in the group was doing their own thing independently, so we all pooled together to help bring awareness to everybody involved. When it’s all said and done, we will be credited as one of the originators of raising the bar of quality music in the city.
If you had to pick one music artist—dead or alive—to go bar-hopping with, who would you pick and why?
88 Killa: That’s super tough, but I would probably say Beyonce. I would love to be able to talk to her candidly about what’s going on in the world without her having to worry about her words being twisted or used against her.
Which songs are currently on your Spotify playlist?
88 Killa: Basically a mix of Dom Kennedy, Nipsey Hussle, ScHoolboy Q, Le$, and Curren$y. All of them are responsible for pushing me right now.
Now… which songs are stuck in your head on repeat? (These don’t have to be on your Spotify.)
88 Killa: I tend to get that song “You Know You Like It (DJ Snake Remix) by AlunaGeorge stuck in my head a lot, and “Burning Desire” by Lana Del Rey too. Both equally random but they definitely make me a happier person when I hear them, haha.
Check out 88 Killa’s music video of “Boomerang,” the leading track in “88 BPM”!
You can follow 88 Killa on Twitter @88Killa. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @shuffleonline for more coverage on rising music artists!