Today, millions of people know HeadKrack and his unmistakable voice from his syndicated radio show, the Rickey Smiley Morning Show. He and the show's namesake have been hosting the program, which airs out of Atlanta, for the better part of a decade, and it's a nationally recognized authority on hip hop.
So it's a big deal to have HeadKrack coming back for a performance in Dallas, where he grew up and made a name for himself as a rapper when he was still just a teenager. Better yet, the show he's playing will be free, and it take place in the exceptionally intimate confines of Crown & Harp. As far as must-see shows go this weekend, this one's a slam-dunk.
In Dallas, HeadKrack was first known as the kid who somehow got into 21-and-over clubs to perform. "I had damn-near a full beard when I was 12," he says. "I would slide in, stay away from the bar, rip the open mic and leave." In middle school, HeadKrack would pick up the phone and call 100.3 Jamz to participate in freestyle jams and battles. After that he started calling K104 to freestyle and sometimes he was invited to the studio to perform.
HeadKrack would go on to win freestyle battles all over the country. He also hosted the longest-running freestyle battle in Dallas, "Monday Night Fights" at the Caribbean Grill, for five years. HeadKrack is still known for his freestyling, even on the Ricky Smiley Morning Show, where his co-hosts toss him pop culture topics to work with.
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In late 2000, KBFB-97.9 FM The Beat was playing avant-garde hip hop like Ghostface Killah and De La Soul, among other things, and HeadKrack wanted to get involved. Along with fellow Bodega Brova Keynote and local producer Supa K, HeadKrack pitched an eight-minute recording to the station, a show proposal. HeadKrack's voice was recognized from freestyle battles and they were hired. For years, the show they created was often the top-rated nighttime radio show in Dallas.
For almost half a decade, Steve Harvey was the voice of morning radio on KBFB in Dallas and on KKBT in L.A. The show failed to reach national syndication and the comedian parted ways with Radio One before his contract was set to expire in 2005. In need of a new morning show, KBFB enlisted HeadKrack and comedian Rickey Smiley in April of 2004. Keynote and Supa K stayed with the nighttime show, which still had strong ratings. The new morning show featured prank calls, news, and hip hop music. After going through its share of growing pains and adding some additional hosts, the Rickey Smiley Morning Show went on to become a great success, airing in over 70 cities.
As a solo artist, HeadKrack has released many singles and strong albums, including The Second Renaissance and One Man Army. He worked with music producer and MC Jeff "Skinny Fresh" Wade on Hydroponic Soundsystem, an artsy hip hop group. Now known as Jeff "Skin" Wade, the former hip hop artist and journalist currently co-hosts the Ben and Skin Show on 105.3. "I wish he'd go back and make some music," HeadKrack reflects. "I had a lot of fun working with him." HeadKrack also worked on a project with Picnictyme that has never been released.
But in 2009 he started The Bodega Brovas with Keynote and Travii the 7th. The three MCs just released a new video for the song "Can't Go" a few weeks ago, but it was shot a year and a half ago. "It's funny because I think I lost a lot of weight after we did that video," says HeadKrack. The Bodega Brovas are extremely productive when they get together and have lots of material stockpiled. After releasing a mixtape that turned into their first album and several singles, the group is preparing for festival season and will launch their next album with a marketing plan.
That same year, the Rickey Smiley Morning Show relocated to Atlanta. The city is full of hip hop celebrities like Young Jeezy and T.I. and the idea was to feature them regularly on the show. "It was a tough move because I love Dallas," says HeadKrack. In 2011, the TV show Dish Nation debuted with HeadKrack as one of the co-hosts. In 2012, The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show from Dallas was added to the show for its second season. "It's going way better than anybody ever expected," says HeadKrack. Indeed, Dish Nation was just renewed for 2 more years.
A bodega is a store where you can buy just about anything. The same can be said for a Target store, like the one HeadKrack worked at in Dallas for 4 years before radio and TV. "Target is one of the coolest jobs I ever held," HeadKrack says. The store he used to work at will close its doors this month and there is a get-together for employees. "I want to say goodbye to my old Target peeps," he says.
If you ever consider where you are and where you want to be, consider this: HeadKrack says his job at Target played a huge part in getting him to where he is today. In between customer service and announcements on the PA system, HeadKrack found time to write rhymes. "I loved that job and I love the people I came in contact with," he says. "It meant a lot to me and I definitely want to represent and be there."
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For bringing HeadKrack back to DFW, Target even deserves some credit for putting the former Dallas resident back on a local stage this Friday. On a bill with an eclectic mix of hip hop and jazz at Crown & Harp, HeadKrack will perform a set to test out new material in anticipation of an upcoming tour.
HeadKrack performs along with Foley, Yells At Eels, and Tru Def at 9 p.m., Friday, January 30, at Crown & Harp, 1914 Greenville Avenue, Free Show.
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