My first exposure to Indianapolis-based rapper Mula Kkhan was at Chreece 3. I had just finished watching dear friend and rap artist Willis and was rushing to get to another show. Then Mula Kkhan hit the stage.
Mula Kkhan’s energy immediately spread across the foundation of the small music venue. A rapper I’d never even heard before was rocking the packed out Hoosier Dome like a sold-out United Center show. Every person in the audience seemed to know all of the words to Mula’s songs, and the twenty-something deep posse of friends and fellow artists head-bobbing on stage led me to believe that the forceful passion of Indianapolis’s own hip-hop scene was the inspiration for the tracks that the rapper performed.
I’m holding down my team. I just floss in between.
B*tch, I rep my set and I do that sh*t to death.
Mula’s performance at Chreece was reminiscent of another performance I’d witnessed years earlier – Chief Keef’s 30-minute daytime set at Chicago’s Lollapalooza. Keef’s youthful energy demanded the audience’s attention while a crowd of childhood friends and supporters shared the same stage. It was almost as if he was proving to the world, once and for all, that he was the pivotal point in Chicago’s booming hip-hop culture. In this image, Mula Kkhan is Indianapolis’s Chief Keef. A rising hometown hero, in every sense of the word, sparking a fire in the heart of a city whose culture was deemed dead for so long. Don’t forget the stage full of homies.
It might have been the special mystery of discovering a new artist, or the fact that he seemingly had the city on his back, but I was ecstatic to learn more about the man behind the Mula Kkhan moniker. Prior to speaking with the rapper I was expecting someone more intimidating and commanding, just judging from the few tracks that I’d listened to. On the contrary, Mula Kkhan is a complex character. He’s well aware of the presumptions associated with the brawn of his style, but he’s sure to describe the strategy behind his artistry. He’s natural, but purposeful.
As a prelude to the release of his newest album, KKHARMA, I chatted with Mula Kkhan about his formation and the consistency of his music.
Start of interview.
Why the name “Mula Kkhan”?
The name really comes from some shit I made up in high school. Originally, the spelling was “Moolah.” My homie Brandon Jones changed that quick to Mula. Back in the day I usually had a “T” with it. Like T-Mula for “Truly MisUnderstanding Life’s Angle.” I was a kid and I felt like I didn’t know who I was or where I belonged. As I grew up and started to understand music more I added Kkhan for Genghis Khan. I had a weird obsession with Genghis, his philosophy, and how he had such an impact on history.
Anything special about the two “k”‘s?
No meaning behind the two “k”’s really, I just thought it looked cool.
My first time experiencing Mula Kkhan the artist was at your Chreece 3 performance. Everyone knew the words to your songs and you had your entire crew on stage with you. How did it feel to garner so much support from your hometown?
I love my city. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Chreece 3 showed me that I have my city and their support. I’m working my ass off, and I can’t let them down. A few years ago, mfs in Nap didn’t even know who I was. This sh*t is surreal.
You recently collaborated with Willis for GO, which I featured on Soul Culture’s promo video. I absolutely love the track but Mula Kkhan and Willis are two artists I would’ve never expected on a track together. Two very different vibes and musical styles. Tell me the story behind the creation of this track.
I wish I had a legendary story for this collaboration because at this moment GO is my favorite track. Willis hit my Twitter DMs and said he had a track. He sent it and it blew me away so I wrote my verse [laughs]. I really want to perform that joint! Willis is a monster.
You’re one of the most consistent artists I’ve listened to – not just coming out of Nap, but in general. Even on your features, the same Mula booms. How did you develop your sound?
Thank you for peeping the work! Honestly, my sound has many influences and I pull from all different genres of music. I love flow switching and trying different voices and pitches on beats. I’m a weirdo and I love sounds and instrumentals. I would rap on anything and just do goofy sh*t on odd beats. It wasn’t until I met Ja Burd, Millz Gold, and Ruh that I figured out I have an alternative trap sound. It comes from the lifestyle and the homies.
Was this consistency purposeful or did it come naturally?
Everything you see from me is natural. I just have these ideas! I haven’t had writer’s block in a few years because I just keep going and keep it moving. When I met TXTBOOK, things started to be a little organized and I was told to “slow down.” There’s nothing wrong with taking it slower because as artists we want to work towards longevity and give people time to digest our music.
Throughout the production of Kkharma, were tracks created with this “Mula Kkhan” sound in mind, or was it an organic creative experience?
The beats and engineering was definitely built off the thoughts and energy of Mula Kkhan. No doubt. My producers and I had a vision and my words brought the tracks to life. It’s honestly a collaborative effort. Millz, BJ, and Ruh help put my lifestyle in music form.
With such strong consistency, do you recognize any areas for growth or artistic development?
The trick to developing is experiencing new things, traveling, being social, etc. I feel like I’m developing and becoming a better songwriter and entertainer. Of course this is my own opinion of myself but I’m definitely getting better at performing and delivering my material.
End of Interview.
KKHARMA carries the same energy as Mula Kkhan’s previous work, with the added development of an artist who’s recognizing his versatility. Tracks like No Explanation illustrate Mula’s ability to apply his heavy style to any blend of genres. And then there’s the cover art!
Mula Kkhan enlisted the help of Australian-based graphic artist, Joe Baker of Baked Lab. Here’s what Joe had to say about the creative direction of KKHARMA‘s artwork:
Mula Kkhan hit me up a few months ago to create the art for KKHARMA. He gave me complete creative freedom, all I had to do was incorporate a scorpion into the art somehow. I ended up turning his dreadlocks into scorpion tails and drew him with a determined, stern, confident facial expression – the look of a man that has some shocking and dark things to say!
Mula Kkhan is undoubtedly his own man. This is proven by his unique musical sound. However, the momentum that propels Mula forward is driven by the support of those that surround him.
Even throughout the duration of our discussion, Mula mentions the names of artists and supporters who have advised and helped develop his sound. This wide net reinforces the old adage it takes a village. The same village that tore down the Hoosier Dome this summer.