KILLA KELA: You’re the biggest fan of hip-hop, talk to me about that.

JAZ ZAHINA: It’s funny, I have imposter syndrome. I have to remind myself you don’t have to be a hip-hop nerd to be a big hip-hop fan because sometimes I feel like my knowledge doesn’t match my passion. Especially if I haven’t heard that classic album or I can’t recite all these facts, I suppose when you’re growing up in that age where there wasn’t that much like access to music you do end up focusing on less acts. I really respect people that have an encyclopedic knowledge, but we mustn’t let ourselves feel like we’re lesser participants in hip-hop just because don’t have that kind of knowledge and lay it out in such a logical factual way.

KILLA KELA: What are some of your musical influences?

JAZ ZAHINA:  For me like music is very tied of my emotions and if can relate emotionally that’s what I’m into. But I did find hip-hop quite young probably like 11 or 12 or something. So, Beastie Boys and a bit of older stuff like Public Enemy. I love DMX. I’m also big indie, grunge, and metal fan. Blur, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Chili Peppers and all that. I used to go to metal clubs all the time, before I was into hip-hop. I love a mosh pit, the friendly violence, it’s like we’re all in pain but there’s no evil intent to it.

KILLA KELA: You are also influenced by a lot of street culture as well, correct?

JAZ ZAHINA: I’ve always wanted to do everything I like the look of, and I like the look of graffiti, so I wanted to do graff, I like the look of hip hop, I want to do that, I like basketball, I like skateboarding. I’m not somebody who’s happy to sit back and watch things, I need to get involved in it. I’m a participator.

I feel like hip-hop is where I found my self-esteem well, I can do this thing and people rate me.  Graff was my outlet, I was a really angry young person and I don’t think I knew it. I didn’t even acknowledge it. I had built up pain and trauma and things so I go out walk tracks on the way home, smash stuff up and like that just felt exhilarating to me like. 

KILLA KELA: How did you get into Graffiti? 

JAZ ZAHINA:  I didn’t have a particularly sparkling career but what got me into it is I used to have to get the train from home and to Camden to go secondary school and I’d obviously see the same pieces, so I’d always wonder who these people were, Sub, Bosch, Teach. I wanted to have a go at it, but I didn’t do it properly until I was like 17 or 18 or whatever. The destruction of it all just felt like so satisfying but also getting up is a thing that’s really far removed from what you look like and like I think I’ve always tried to escape that persona, you’re faceless, no one knows what you look like. I liked being part of this underground network, the way you view the city is different.

KILLA KELA:  It seems to me you really like the subculture mindset, is that a correct assumption?

JAZ ZAHINA:  Subculture means a lot to people that feel rejected by the mainstream. subculture is almost like a family for people that just didn’t get on with what we felt like we were supposed to. For me, I don’t want to be part of everybody’s thing, I want a smaller group. 

KILLA KELA: Your music and videos have a lot of attention to detail to them. What the construction of your bars like, what’s the formula? 

JAZ ZAHINA: It as almost like chipping away a sculpture because I’ll write all these things and my rhyme books have so much stuff crossed out because it’s not quite right. Sometimes I’m a bit embarrassed at how long it might take me to write. I don’t know what’s going to come out. I only clock what I’ve done after I’ve done it. It feels quite subconscious. It just comes out and emerges. It doesn’t feel like I’m really thinking that hard. It feels like I’m at the mercy of my subconscious to just deliver me the rap when it’s ready. i find it hard to force myself to write.

KILLA KELA: What’s the future?

JAZ ZAHINA:  I’m gonna be working on a project with a producer Curt Cataract. He produced my last single Live Love Laugh. I’m also doing a cover version of something, it’s my lyrics but like it’s a cover of a like a pop rock tune I’m really excited about that my mum’s going to be doing the drums on it. and don’t know whatever else floats into my mind, I’ll put it out there. 

Today we are jumping deep into MC and subculture culture with one of the UK’s finest Hip Hop MC’s and commentator’s, Jaz Kahina. Through her decades in the Street Culture scene – from skateboarding, to hip hop, Graffiti and MCing, Jaz has committed a life to the practice of street culture in all its forms. Today we’re getting deep into the mindset of the daily pursuit, life, female struggles in the creative and business world, growning up in London and way more.. This is Jaz Kahina’s Podcast, enjoy!