Khary WAE Frazier
Hip-hop artist born in Detroit MI December 23rd 1982. The Detroit emcee who calls himself WAE (pronounced way an acronym which stands for Working At Excellence) is a creative combination of white collar intellect and blue collar work ethic, of grassroots activism and street-smart savvy. On stage WAE's performances are renown for exciting crowds with songs of activism and community. Whether performing with a live band or as part of a traditional hip hop crew with turntablist, DJ Drummer B, WAE lifts audiences to new heights.
His solo debut Black Man's Music was a favorite on Michigan's underground hip-hop scene. The rapper's thoughtful and witty delivery found enthusiastic audiences at clubs and college campuses across the state.
WAE's second effort, Preaching II the Choir, is a rude awakening to the realities of and opportunities provided in Americas inner city. In an environment where silly, uncreative hip hop lyrics dominate the airwaves, Preaching II The Choir explodes with an edgy, innovative, assault. WAE's lyrics open doors for those who will hear - the doors of economics, of revolution, and of the Detroit city streets that he calls home. Detroit serves as the catalyst that helps him draw vivid images of the situations and relationships of the many people he meets. The hustle and ingenuity are expressed and asserted in his passion for music and business.
"As an artist I write the song to relay the message of my grandmother who raised me, the 80's hustler I looked up to, and the dope boys I've seen grow up and who I grew up with," WAE says. "I study the people I meet, and I tell their stories in my songs. WAE sees himself as a mediator between those people, "so they can all have a respect for each other."
Black Man's Music 2003
Preaching II the Choir 2008
How did you get started in the industry of hip hop?
Khary: My cousin was a hip hop DJ so I grew up listening to Whodini, Boogie Down Productions, Kaos and Maestro and more. I didn't really think this is what I would do until I started paying more attention to the Source than my textbook. I found myself creating my own raps and people liking what I did; I have been smitten with hip hop artistry every since.
How long have you been in the business?
Khary: I first went to the studio in the 10th grade, back in 1999. Right around the time Nas I Am was released because I remember Nas is Like had me in the zone for like 2 months off of my first record.
What do you think of the Hip Hop industry?
Khary: I think that the industry now is used as a huge marketing tool. It has really taken on a lot of the corporate identity today.
Yes, Metro Detroit & the stage is my sanctuary and where the hard work pays off.
Ice Cube, hes the one. From 88 till he went Hollywood that dude was telling it how it was. Public Enemy was raw just loud drums and that music that made your moms hate rap. Just the title of a song like My Uzi Weighs a Ton, I love that shit. I listen to a lot of Blues too. John Lee Hooker and Bessie Smith have that feeling and passion of rap. Im drawn to story-tellers. I can listen to the same song for hours on end if it has that feel.
Pen & Notebook, Nuendo, Reason, Waves Platinum, Shure SM58, Microphone, Speakers
Marygrove Mustang College (Detroit, MI) Newspaper Spring 2008 www.marygrove.edu Khary Wae Frazier Interview By Vaughn Arrington
A: How you doing today?
W: Making my way in the land of the free, as its claimed to be.
A: Very well, very wellLets just jump right into the interview. I was wondering where you got your name. Why you chose Wae?
W: I got my name from when I was a kid and my crew had aliasis I thought rapping in many ways was cool. Then as I grew as an artist and was searching and finding myself, reaching Hotep as I refer to it. I needed to put more of a meaning to me. My mother, father, preacher, and even the dopeboys always put in work and I tell that story of what theyre working towards. What were working towards on my block is excellence so it came natural, Working At Excellence.
A: How did that fuel you in the sense of being from where youre from, and growing up how you grew up?
W: Well my parents worked hard to handle the responsibilities of myself and my sister. Furthermore my whole family is full of drive and determination. When you wake up and have a father and mother who work 15/16 hours a day and 2 grandfathers who become successful entrepreneurs off street education, some hustle gonna rub off. I grew up in a hood where aint nobody take a day off. So for me to not turn around and put the same passion into this, then it wouldnt come out right. I dont take no nights off, Ill sleep in my timbs.
A: What are you trying to communicate with your new album and the music in general that you make?
W: With my album, my album is going to be about the three ingredients of me as a man where Im from, what I know, and where Im trying to go. Ive been in Detroit my whole life and its the place Im gone die. The imagery and the essence of my city exudes rebirth and creativity. Walking these streets puts the reality of the social injustices of my people in my face. Detroit city is a city that has been engineered by Black people since the rebellion in the 60s scared off many of my peoples oppressors rightfully so. The opportunity to create business, art, schools, and many more elements to build a nation all are here and were waiting. What I know is economics. My father is CPA and both my grandfathers were entrepreneurs. My uncles are businessmen as well and Im surrounded by the vast knowledge of what resources can bring to the table. The message I give is about bringing those resources to the table. Where Im trying to go is to the Mecca that was Detroits Black Bottom, Harlems Renaissance, and Michigans Idlewild. Black unity, economics, and a loud clear voice in support of my people is what Im moving towards.
A: So being more of a revolutionary rapper, how do you feel about what we just found out the American governments doing, is that part of your music?
W: The American government is a BIG factor into the voice of my music. The way I feel about the government is that it is an establishment that is maintained by those who have interest in keeping their say. The reality of the situations that face this country is very simple and it comes down to haves and have nots. Those who have are taking everything they can take from the have nots to continue having. This changes the laws of the land, the justice in the courts, the equal opportunities in business, and sadly the education of a people. This is economics 101. Capitalism thrives on poverty, oppression, ignorance, and lies. I go into my songs with these beliefs because thats how I live my life. When I say Fuck this whole country its Flaky like dandruff I mean that. Im not Professor Griff (of Public Enemy) but somebody has to let it be known that the time for shucking jiving and showing teeth aint right now. My music is only a reflection of my love for my people. I dont hate white people. I hate the actions of the many people throughout history who have purposely sought out personal advancement on the backs of black people without equal and opportune compensation. I have a problem with the dopeman and the overseer.
A: And every time it seems people speak out they get censored.
W: My music is not for the faint at heart. This is a country where you can have Black Entertainment Television create their best produced show about dope dealers and strip off the news. Black Entertainment Television, and the role models we have are not Imohotep, Nzingha, and the Zulu Nation instead its Tookie Williams. In 1989 the biggest rap group in the world was being censored for calling Elvis Presley out for the racist he was while Eazy E was live in Americas living rooms with AR-15s and 8-Balls. My album has to come with a disclaimer, because Im not biting my tongue about the realities of this system.
A: How do you feel about Fox News and the Republican Party?
W: Funny they call it fox news because theyre definitely fooling many sheeps. I love we have a forum where I can see straight up the propaganda the media is peddling today. When I finished making my video for Black Fist Up I purposely made a specific press kit addressed to the Rebulican party. I figured the fist line about never meeting a cop I didnt feel like killing would open up some ears. But I also submitted some information about the statistics of police brutality here in Detroit city. Cops are raping Black Men in broad day light in the streets of Detroit and getting away with this. Its sickening. The police department and these public officials should turn their heads in shame.
A: Who are some people that influence your style?
W: Ice Cube, hes the one. From 88 till he went Hollywood that dude was telling it how it was. Public Enemy was raw just loud drums and that music that made your moms hate rap. Just the title of a song like My Uzi Weighs a Ton, I love that shit. I listen to a lot of Blues too. John Lee Hooker and Bessie Smith have that feeling and passion of rap. Im drawn to story-tellers. I can listen to the same song for hours on end if it has that feel.
A: What comes first with you in making a song? Do you first have the lyrics or do you just hear the beat and go off that?
W: I use many techniques when writing it all depends on where Im at and what Im feeling. I brainstorm at times and draw from a topic and build around a topic. At times I write the whole song except the 1st and last lines of the verses and fill those in on the spot when I get into my session. The biggest build and make up of a song for me is the 1st line of the 1st verse and last line of the last verse. Thats the alpha and omega of song writing.
A: Do you have a favorite song that you do?
W: That changes like the seasons, but if I had to pick 1 itd have to be Shit is Over. Ive been performing that song for years now and it never lets a crowd down. Its all raw and grimey and a 1 hitter. A 1 hitter means you hear it 1 time and you know it top to bottom its built like an old school Chevy.
A: Whats next for you right now.
W: The album, Preaching to the Choir. Its been a long time in the making but well worth the wait. I never felt so confident and have had such a clear definition about where Im going as an artist as on this project. The production is phenomenal, Mark Bird, Drummer B, Symphony, and more. The album is a journey through my eyes. I went into this project wanting to make something for me when I was that 13 year old hip-hopper but whats come about is way more powerful. This album is a message to myself, my city, and my people.