Knox Hill breathes new life into rap music

Knox Hill (also known as K. Hill) recently came to Radford University to promote his mixtape The 92 Dream, which comes out this summer. The tape is hip-hop/experimental (and even includes a dubstep track) and showcases what Hill has been working hard on for the last few years.

Hill grew up in Prince George’s County, Md., just 5 minutes from where the famous rapper Wale went to school. Growing up he wasn’t always interested in rap, but was raised in a hip-hop community. Hill first got into music in the lunchroom and locker rooms after school when kids’ would put down a hat and throw kids names in so they could freestyle. Hill’s friend invited him one day to watch, unaware his friend had actually put Hill’s name in the hat. His unexpected performance didn’t go very well, and since then he “never wanted to be showed up again.”

Knox Hill. Photo courtesy of Knox Hill.

Hill continued to practice and work hard, writing and rapping his own music.

“I wrote a lot of poetry and spoken word,” he said. It didn’t take long for him to be the one who was taking the hat home at the end of the day. He became known as “8 mile.”

Hip-hop was previously intended as a means to demand social change. “It’s obviously changed now … I try to bring it back to that,” Hill said.

It’s refreshing to meet an artist who emphasizes sending the right message through their rap, not just talking about partying and girls. He produces and makes his own beats, drawing from all different genres to create his experimental sound. It seems most hip-hop artists describe themselves as “outside of the box,” but Hill noted that he likes to say “I push the edges of the box.”

Hill’s biggest influence is his grandfather.

“I don’t think I’ve ever met a more hardworking and honest man,” he said.

Growing up with someone like that in his life inspired Hill to always try to be the best that he could be and to put his heart into everything he does.

Hill is also an athlete, dominating in soccer at Bridgewater College where he currently holds the record for most goals in a season. Though he has graduated, he still values athletics as one of the most important things in his life.

“I guess I’ve always lived an identity crisis,” he said.

Being an athlete has taught him skills he can now transfer over into his music career, like hard work and dedication.

Hill is excited for the release of his mixtape and he hopes to gain more support as he tours other colleges around Virginia. It’s obvious how passionate he is about his music, even if you’re hearing it for the first time. If you like what you hear, you can follow him on Twitter — @theknoxhill.

“You work so hard, you work so hard, and then you start all over, ” Hill said, commenting on how he hopes to also release a CD in the future.

Keep a look out for The 92 Dream!