Nothing says Christmas time in Juneau like a performance by Killah Priest.
While the Wu-Tang Clan-affiliated artist born Walter Reed might be better known for his Halloween-adjacent hip-hop with horrorcore trailblazers Gravediggaz, he’ll be in the capital city for a Dec. 20 all-ages show that will also feature local talent.
Joining the now-California-based MC, will be Manner, Zansler Kotlarov, Radiophonic Jazz, E.F.A, Northkut Alaskan, Indigo Gold, Lance & Tbone, Jocelyn Miles, Elephant Boy, Mannerarts, James Johnson, Glen Ojard And Big Mano and a dance performance by Masters of Destiny.
Ahead of the Juneau show, Killah Priest, who can be heard on the foundational “Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version” and canonized “Liquid Swords,” and more than a dozen solo albums, took some time to talk to the Capital City Weekly about coming to Southeast Alaska, his favorite rappers and his marijuana strain.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
I figured I’d ask because you’re on a couple of Gravediggaz albums, did you do anything fun for Halloween this year?
Yeah. I did a show at DNO (Down n Out). I hosted a Halloween party, and it got kind of crazy. (Laughs.) Yeah, it got kind of wild.
I know you’ve been out in L.A. for a little bit, are you excited to see real winter weather again?
Yeah. Out there in Alaska, that’s different man. That’s like the real outdoors. I’ve never seen the outdoors like out there. I won’t see no bears, because they be hibernating right then, right?
Yeah, they’ll be asleep at that time. Maybe you could see some wolves? You’d probably have to go out of your way to do it.
I wanna check out some real wolves. That’s crazy.
How cool is it that music paved a path for you to California, and now it’s bringing you out to Southeast Alaska? When you were first starting out did you think, “Yeah, one day I’ll be rapping in Juneau, Alaska?”
I wouldn’t even think I’d be in California. (Laughs), let alone Alaska, man. I never could have imagined it.
In a digital age, what’s the value of getting out on the road and bringing your music to people in person?
You get the one-on-one experience. I love every time I get on the road. You meet different people, and it gives you different ideas, different ideas. It just adds on more for your mind to think.
When people come out to the Killah Priest show in December, what can they expect?
Classic hip-hop. I’m going to take ‘em back to classic hip-hop and gave a good time. I’m going to take them back to the mid-’90s all the way up to 2019. The hip-hop golden era.
Do you like the modern direction hip-hop is going, or do you still like the classic stuff?
It varies you know. I’m always willing to listen to change because some of the stuff is melodic, but you know, I like the art of it also.
Who do you think was really bringing the art to it?
Either-or, someone from today or a back-in-the-day artist.
Whenever someone asks me this, I always forget because there’s too many. Drake spits lyrics. For back in the day, I like Rakim, Slick Rick, E-40, different kind of guys. Oh, Ice Cube.
Slick Rick, man. No one else is rocking the eye patch anymore. Is there anything new in the works we should know about, I saw on your website, you have a podcast?
I got a podcast, I got my own weed strain, called Killah Priest OG, I got a new project coming.
Know & Go
What: Killah Priest of Wu-Tang Southeast Tour
When: 8 p.m., Dec. 20.
Where: Juneau Arts & Culture Center
Admission: $25 for adults and $15 for students. Tickets can be purchased online at jahc.org.