Daddy Kev is a seasoned underground hip-hop producer, with studio credits that read like a who's who of underground hip-hop. Kev has produced or engineered for the likes of Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude, Mix Master Mike, Sage Francis, Supernatural, AWOL One, The Shape Shifters, Busdriver, D-Styles, Living Legends, 2Mex, Slug, Eyedea, Saul Williams, Phoenix Orion and countless others. Daddy Kev's famed Echo Chamber recording studio (now located in Downtown L.A.) has been responsible for an incredible string of underground albums over the years, and continues to buzz with new musical directions being explored on a daily basis. Daddy Kev's production or engineering work has been released on labels such as Alpha Pup, Celestial, Warp, Rhino/Warner, Big Dada/Ninja Tune, Ubiquity, Immortal, Rhymesayers, Anticon, Mush, Legendary Music, Project Blowed, Beat Junkie Sound, Mary Joy, Puma Strut, Thud Rumble, ArtistDirect, VinylKingz, Basement, Cornerstone/RAS, Sublevel Epidemic, Audio Research and more.
Daddy Kev's newest label venture is Alpha Pup Records. Founded in late 2004 with business manager Danyell Jariel, Alpha Pup was conceived as a licensing entity for Kev's catalog material, as well as a mechanism for releasing new material by close friend and allies. Since the label's founding, Alpha Pup has quickly gained momentum, and was able to release five records over the course of 2005. Kev was also a founding father of Celestial Recordings, the highly influential underground hip-hop and drum-and-bass label. Celestial was launched in June of 1998 with the release of Phoenix Orion's Zimulated Experiencez LP. Celestial inked a distribution deal with Caroline by January 1999, and began their massive assault of releases. Although Celestial never assigned official titles to its employees, Daddy Kev acted as CEO and creative director during Celestial's entire existence, guiding the A&R direction of the label as well as designing nearly all of Celestial's record covers, advertisements and press releases. Suffice to say, Daddy Kev's music production would become synonymous with the "Celestial sound." Overall, more than 40 titles were released by Celestial Recordings and its subsidiaries (which included Vortex Recordings, Celestial's drum-and-bass imprint). Prior to Celestial, Daddy Kev had worked as an art director and product manager for the Thrive Records subsidiary of Sire Music Group in 1997. From late 2003 through the Summer of 2004, Kev worked the daylight hours as a Label Manager for the Sony Corporation of America. While at Sony, Kev oversaw corporate label relations between Sony Connect (Sony's digital distribution division) and various major record label groups, including Sony BMG and it's affiliated labels (including Arista, Columbia, Epic, Jive, RCA, and J Records). During his tenure, Kev delivered exclusive content deals with artists such as Britney Spears, Avril Lavigne and Los Lonely Boys.
Event promotion has been apart of Daddy Kev's repertoire for some time. He began promoting his own underground parties in early 1992 while a senior in high school. First he rocked street promotions for Double Hit Mickey. Then Kev got hip to the magic of bolt cutters, and started organizing his own break-in warehouse parties in South Central LA. Kev would take things further in college after he was elected Director of Programming for on-campus entertainment at UC San Diego. During his tenure he transformed the social climate of the University by booking acts such as Ben Harper, Bootsy Collins, and Rocket From The Crypt. He also negotiated an unusual deal with UCSD's administration to serve free beer to students at concerts. Upon graduation in 1997, Kev returned to Los Angeles and took a break from event promotion. It wasn't too long, though, before Kev began promoting a weekly club called Konkrete Jungle LA. After launching in March of 1999, the club quickly became L.A.'s premiere venue for drum-and-bass and underground hip-hop, booking international talent on a weekly basis. Rolling Stone gave it's nod of approval in 1999 by calling Konkrete Jungle the "Best Dance Club in L.A." The club continued for over three years, but was closed due to sound level disputes with venue management. Daddy Kev has also promoted two other weekly events in the Los Angeles area: Bassline (located at The Echo); and Kush (located at The Short Stop).
Daddy Kev began dabbling in graphic design while still in elementary school, taking advantage of his father's home office and laser printer. While still in high school, Kev began interning for URB Magazine in early 1992. Kev would remain a part of the URB family for the next five years, contributing to the magazine as both art director and writer. Several URB issues with graphic design by Daddy Kev were exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 1996 as a part of the "Mixing Messages: Graphic Design In Contemporary Culture" exhibition -- these particular issues of URB have since become a part of the the Smithsonian's permanent collection. After leaving URB in 1997, Kev worked as a freelance art director, designing record covers and websites for clients like London/FFRR, Island, Polygram and Priority Records. When Celestial was born, Daddy Kev phased out most his freelance work and dedicated his graphic design skills to the label -- the result can be seen on more than 40 record covers, as well as countless posters and flyers.
Kev has received coverage in the largest music publications in the world, garnering reviews and/or features in Rolling Stone, Mojo, Spin, URB, XLR8R, BPM, LA Weekly and countless others. Pitchfork Media describes Kev as "one of the Los Angeles underground's most visionary producers... His style exemplifies the steady bleeding of hip-hop culture into the more highbrow aspects of art." A search on Google will reveal thousands of reviews and articles from webzines and bloggers around the world. Two of his albums have received "Album Of The Year" nods in Vice Magazine (Phoenix Orion's Zimulated Experiencez in 1998 and AWOL One's Souldoubt in 2001), while his "Rhythm" single with AWOL One was nominated for Single Of The Year in the prestigious Village Voice "Pazz & Jop 2001" Awards. Kev also received nods from the LA Weekly Music Awards ("Best DJ" in 2001), and the California Music Awards ("Best Hip-Hop Album" in 2002 for AWOL One's Number 3 On The Phone).
Daddy Kev (born 1974 in Los Angeles) is a prolific underground hip-hop and electronic music producer, recording engineer and record label owner. His recording studio is known as the Echo Chamber, which is located in Downtown Los Angeles.
Together with Hive and Shaggy, he founded the Celestial Recordings record label in 1998. The label's early records included Phoenix Orion's Zimulated Experiencez album and the Celestial Squadron compilation. Kev also produced records by Naptron and Alien Nation, most of the songs characterized by fusing rap with sci-fi samples. His work with AWOL One on Souldoubt (2001) saw Daddy Kev return to a more conventional underground hip hop context. During this era, Daddy Kev would contribute to a number of genre-defining records, including Sole Bottle of Humans (2000), Mikah 9 Timetable (2001), Abstract Rude P.A.I.N.T. (2001), Prefuse 73 Vocal Studies & Uprock Narratives (2001) and Nobody Soulmates (2001).
Although Celestial Recordings folded in early 2002, Kev stayed in Los Angeles to produce and engineer a series of albums including: Busdriver Temporary Forever (2002), D-Styles Phantazmagorea (2002), AWOL One Slanguage (2003), The Grouch Sound Advice (2003), and Existereo Dirty Deeds & Dead Flowers (2003).
April 2004 brought Busdriver's Cosmic Cleavage album, released by Big Dada/Ninja Tune, and produced entirely by Daddy Kev. In July 2004, Kev began work on Mix Master Mike's Bangzilla album.
Upon the conclusion of work on the Mix Master Mike album, Kev hatched a plan with business manager Danyell Jariel to start a new record label, Alpha Pup Records. By the end of 2004, the label was formed, and Kev began mixing the label's first release, Paris Zax's Unpath'd Waters (2005).
In 2005, Alpha Pup quickly hit its stride, releasing the Paris Zax album to critical acclaim, as well as offerings from Mike Boo, Ricci Rucker, Blackbird, and longtime Kev collaborator AWOL One. In 2006, Daddy Kev served as executive producer on albums for Subtitle, Daedelus, Scream Club, and Acid Reign, all released on Alpha Pup. He also returned to the studio with Busdriver, mixing and recording tracks for RoadKillOvercoat, which was released on Epitaph in February 2007.
Reefer, a collaborative group with Islands frontman Nick Thorburn, was announced on the Alpha Pup Web site in April 2007. A flyer depicting coral reefs was displayed on Daddy Kev's MySpace page with the roman numerals of 2008 underneath.