In the spring of the year 2000, two students who met at a University of Pennsylvania talent show realized they had tremendous musical chemistry and decided that they wanted to make music together. Little did they know that they would be given the chance to revolutionize it.
When Chicago native Jabari Evans began developing his literary gift in elementary school, he'd write short stories, poems, and things of the like. As Evans drew toward hip-hop, a fateful meeting convinced him that he had a bright future as an MC. During a recruitment visit to the University of Pennsylvania he decided to enter a talent competition and perform a freestyle rap. Afterwards, many of the students urged Evans to introduce himself to Michael Aguilar aka DJ Double-O, a track star from New Jersey who had honed his DJing skills in high school and at the time was starting to get into producing beats. Evans, then known as J-Naledge, impressed Aguilar during their time together, and before Evans entered for his freshman year at Penn, Naledge and Double-O formed a partnership that eventually spawned the Kidz in the Hall.
“The reason why we make dope music is because our music isn't forced or filtered. Musically, we are two like minded individuals and we strive to make a unique sound that is unordinary but portrays the lives of ordinary people,” says the 20 year old Naledge while lounging in a studio chair. “Hip Hop is like literature and not everybody is interested reading the same things. The rap game is full of either cheap comic books or people pretending to be Shakespeare no one is providing “A Raisin in the Sun” –like shit anymore. To me, ordinary people provide some of the most masterful and relatable stories.”
After the summer of 2000 Naledge and Double-O began to put their resources together in efforts to begin to record songs together. After creating a makeshift studio inside of an off-campus apartment, The duo began making demo CD's together and performing local shows on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey underground hip hop scene. After building a strong buzz they are now poised to not only resurrect hip-hop that they grew fond of growing up as children of the late 80's and early 90's, but create what they perceive to be the “perfect album”.
“The most critical part of this album is going to be the sound of the beats,” says Double-O. “If I cannot provide the perfect landscapes for his (Naledge's) words, no one will pay attention. His sound and my sound somehow became the same sound. That's what makes our group different. I am assured we will be successful for that reason.”
Although the Kidz were poised to get a record deal on their own, once Super-Producer Just Blaze publicly laid his claim on the group industry heads turned. “Not only does he dig the music but he understands us ,” says Double O. “He's the most forward thinking music producer that I know and for us to be around him and get his stamp on our music is a blessing. When the right deal is presented we will do a joint venture with Fort Knocks (Just's label imprint).”
Kidz in the Hall are looking to become one of hip-hop's most admired acts ever, destined to leave a legacy of artistic brilliance. Double O and Naledge, the producer/DJ and lyricist/MC, are reviving a format that Gangstarr, Pete Rock and CL Smooth and Run DMC established as the set standard in early-'90s hip-hop. With their debut release, “ The Broke Diaries ” (Executive Produced by Just Blaze), they hope to wow both listeners and critics alike with DJ-style beatmaking and jazzy sounds, and insightful, conscious lyrics that aim to touch upon the everyday struggles of life.