On The Record: Creed Chameleon
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Very few Hawaii hip-hop artists know what it takes to grind, survive and succeed like Kristopher Rojas, aka Creed Chameleon.
Over the last 15 years, Rojas has been part of collectives like Direct Descendants, Flip the Bird and SIQ Records. The Waipahu wordsmith has opened up for Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Murs, Atmosphere and countless notables of both top-tier global and underground acclaim while cementing his place as an artist who stays true to the culture.
Rojas moved back to Oahu about a year and a half ago from Arizona. This week he celebrates the release of new music made possible in part by moments of reflection during his stint away from the islands and inspired by his internal devotion to the hip-hop artform.
Rojas teamed up with friend and former Oahu resident Klarke Castellanos (aka Grip H.) on an eight-track EP, “Kristofer Klarke,” when the two crossed paths in Arizona. The end result is a polished effort that shows off each other’s relentless writing abilities and knack for making sure listeners can totally digest what they’re saying.
Mid-tempo jazz melodies make for easy listening while the chemistry between the two is the project’s true strength. Instead of declaring he’s back, the album seems to humbly state that Creed never left.
“What made it different (from) my other projects was that I was able to adapt and create with another MC that mixed our different styles together in order to piece up one unison sound,” he said.
Upon returning home, nothing was more important than reuniting with his 11-year-old son.
“I take for granted (the) time I lost with him,” Rojas said. “He’s definitely grown and done so (many) things within a four year span without me, but I can honestly say I’m super happy in his endeavors and fortunate that I have such a smart and witty kid.
“As for my son, nothing has changed and it felt like I never left at all which I’m grateful for.”
His passion for creating music and performing today has never been stronger.
“I’ve never been so determined, when I have (time off) from work to concentrate on either collab projects or solo stuff,” he said. “For performing, I would say I’m at a 10 still. I’m always hungry. Regardless how much time flew by, I’ve never left home because the islands was always here in my heart.”
Some may say, Rojas’ absence left a void for others to carry the torch he left behind. Rojas believes that was never the case. He is quick to praise the resiliency of forward thinking efforts of artists like Jim Hurdle, Prie, Broke Mokes and Connor Henderson for collectively breaking out to the point that they are the present and future of the scene.
“Never forget the foundation and roots of where this movement started from,” Rojas advised. “As far as establishing yourself as a dope Hawaii hip-hop artist, negative criticism and hate will always be eminent when you’re coming up in the ranks.
“In the end of it all, music has always been the therapy and my passion for years. No matter how much I can say I am too busy with my work, family, and other personal lifestyles, I will always have hip-hop in the heart.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.