Killah Priest Biography
Priest first made himself known to the hip hop world rapping on two songs on the Gravediggaz album 6 Feet Deep (which are "Diary of a Madman" and "Graveyard Chamber") in 1994, and followed this with two appearances on each of two Wu-Tang Clan solo albums, Ol' Dirty Bastard's Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version and GZA's Liquid Swords, both from 1995 (see 1995 in music). Liquid Swords in fact included a Killah Priest solo track titled "B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth)". Also in 1995, Priest's group Sunz Of Man with rappers Hell Razah, 60 Second Assassin, Prodigal Sunn were signed to Wu-Tang Records and released three 12" singles through the label. Initially Sunz Of Man included Shabazz the Disciple, who had previously been in a duo with Priest called The Disciples, but Shabazz basically left the group before the contract with Wu-Tang Records was signed, thus only appearing on the B-side "5 Arch Angels".
Killah Priest's first solo album was Heavy Mental, released on Geffen Records in May 1998. It mostly expanded on the themes of "B.I.B.L.E.", featuring religious references and allegory woven into commentary on African American society and history. The album was mostly produced by the Wu-Elements producers, a group of in-house Wu-Tang producers mentored by Wu leader RZA. Sunz Of Man released their debut album The Last Shall Be First later in 1998, but by that time Priest's ties to the Wu were beginning to weaken, as he and long-time friend Shabazz clashed with RZA (their business ties with the Wu also began to weaken after the GZA Entertainment management agency, which they were both signed to, dissolved in 1996). After unsuccessful attempts by the pair to create new post-Wu Tang crews (Priest proposed a crew called the Maccabeez which would include himself, Shabazz and Timbo King among others, while Shabazz proposed a group including himself and Priest called the Sunz Of Thunder) they both effectively went their separate ways and cut their respective Wu-Tang ties.
After leaving the Wu stable, and consequently also effectively leaving Sunz Of Man, Priest helped form the hip hop supergroup The HRSMN with Ras Kass, Canibus and Kurupt. In October 2003, Killah Priest and Dreddy Kruger released a nine track album entitled The Horsemen Project. It was released independently through Think Differently Music/Proverbs Music Inc. and was only available to purchase off the internet. Each track featured at least two members of the group as well as an appearance by Pak Man. It is currently unknown who handled the majority of the production on the album, although it is known that Mark Sparks was responsible for two songs. On Killah Priest's HipHopGame.com journal, he mentions the Horsemen a few times. The talks about a new album were mentioned on the May 1, 2006 entry. He said "The Horsemen project is definitely going to come. Right now we just have to get Kurupt. He's been doing the Dogg Pound thing, but it's definitely going to come. We have songs recorded and we have more in store."
Ras Kass and Canibus were featured on Priest's second album, View From Masada, which featured no Wu-Tang input whatsoever (though the album's liner notes included the note "Peace to Wu-Tang Clan"). The album had a decidedly more commercially minded style than Heavy Mental, and introduced his new Maccabeez crew, featuring a crew of then-unknown rappers. The album was also an important early stepping stone to stardom for producer Just Blaze, who would later go on to produce countless mainstream hip hop hits for the likes of Cam'ron, Erick Sermon, Fabolous and Jay-Z. However, View From Masada received mixed reviews.
Priest had to leave the major labels behind after View From Masada sold poorly. His first independent release Priesthood (2001), released on Proverbs Music, his own record label, was critically acclaimed though it suffered from very limited distribution. Black August followed in 2003 on Recon Records, and was also well-received. Priest also released an album on the Internet titled Black August Revisited a few months after the release of Black August which shared few similarities with the original, save its title. Black August Revisited also saw Priest rediscover his Wu-Tang ties, including collaborations with Hell Razah and Ol' Dirty Bastard. He also appeared in the music video for the single "Made You Look" by fellow New York rapper Nas. In 2009, Killah Priest launched the controversial music video "Redemption". The video promotes the beliefs of the Black Hebrew Israelites that believe in the 12 Tribes of Israel in the name of Jesus Christ (Yahawashi Ha Mashayach).
In 2004, Priest performed numerous times with other Wu-Tang Killa Beez and also appeared on Masta Killa's album No Said Date. November 2005 saw the re-release of Priesthood on Mic Club Music, a label owned by Louis Lombard III (aka Luminati), who produced Priesthood as well as recent albums by Canibus. March 2007 saw the release of Killah Priest's mixtape album "End of the World".
On August 21, 2007, Killah Priest released The Offering, which was sequenced by his former manager, Stacey Castro and featured appearances from Nas, Immortal Technique, his fellow HRSMN, & 4th Disciple as well as Hell Razah, who appears on the advance single title track that was released in October 2005.
Killah Priest next album titled Behind the Stained Glass, was released on May 20, 2008 on the label Good Hands Records. It's reported that he's also in the midst of recording Behind the Stained Glass Part Two. Killah Priest also released an album titled Elizabeth on October 20, 2009 on Proverbs Records, which Priest owns. Killah Priest is also recording another double album called The Psychic World of Walter Reed, produced by Dutch producers Godz Wrath, 4th Disciple, RZA, and more. Killah Priest also mentioned in a YouTube interview for Pyramid West that he is also working on a sequel to Heavy Mental called Heavier Mental.
2010s and beyond
In a August 2010 radio interview with Mista Montana, Killah Priest discussed the creation of his next album The Psychic World of Walter Reed, stating that the RZA and many other key Wu-Tang Clan members will feature on there, including the Four Horsemen.
After several delays, The Psychic World of Walter Reed was released on February 25, 2013.