Kevin “Kaze” Thomas (pronounced KAH-ZEE) is a versatile entertainer who captures the spirit of groundbreaking Hip Hop artists. In early 2009, Kaze was announced as one of the top two winners of Loud.com’s MC contest, which earned him a deal with Steve Rifkind’s SRC Records. With his new single “Fresh” produced by 9th Wonder, the new First in Flight mixtape hosted by DJ Whoo Kid and a street album slated for this Fall, Kaze is bringing his years of hard work to the masses.

Hailing from northern Virginia and eastern North Carolina, Kaze spent his youth memorizing lyrics of Hip Hop legends like LL Cool J and Kool Moe Dee and making karaoke-style tapes in his garage. Despite his passion for music, Kaze set out to earn a college degree to ensure his business would be in order. During his studies at the University of North Carolina, Kaze discovered his ability to freestyle and fully arrange songs.

After college, Kaze expanded his horizons by creating Hip-Hop Nation, a nationally-broadcasted television show. Still working on his musical aspirations in his free time, he began to seriously consider a career change. He released the self-produced project Spirit of ‘94 to his budding fan base in North Carolina, and the album’s success inspired him. After selling thousands of copies independently, Spirit of ‘94 was picked up by BCD Global Distribution for placement into Transworld-operated stores like FYE.

The single “50/50 Amp” received airplay on college and commercial radio stations across the country, and charted Number One in college radio.  Kaze peaked at #11 on the Rap Network in March of 2004, a chart tabulated by spins from the tastemakers of college radio.  By 2005, Spirit of ‘94 was picked up by Boston-based Brick Records and by Japan-based label Handcuts Records, giving the smash album worldwide distribution.

Kaze’s reputation as a dynamic performer and intensely defiant battle MC grew, and he expanded his career by performing shows with the likes of Common, G-Unit, GZA, Dead Prez, Camp Lo, Little Brother, DJ Muggs, Method Man, and The Clipse.  He also worked with an array of developing artists like S.S.P, Jozeemo from East Durham, Young Flu, and North Carolina’s Princess Shelly B. Kaze created a strong following with fans from all types of ethnic backgrounds and cultures, and was able to give them diverse collaborations with artists like Nature, Royce the 5’9 and O.C. He also created an exclusive project with  9th Wonder entitled Spirit of ’94, Version 9.0.

To this day, those fans who supported Kaze early on are a big part of his inspiration, and new fans help to keep him motivated. “Doing what I love is the ultimate reward – creating that vibe, making people move and have fun,” he says. “The people I meet are the reason I do what I do. Hip Hop crosses all boundaries, and has made some of my best friends. With the internet, you never know who is listening or watching from where. The tours and shows let me reach out and touch that part of the game that is still human, and see that impact my music may have had on someone. I appreciate that my fans feel that I’m here to bring the hot sh*t back, that I’m the one.”

As fans spread the word about Kaze and mixtapes like Enemy of the State and Word on the Street garnered him more praise, Kaze signed to Rawkus Records in the spring of 2007 as one of the Rawkus 50. He released the critically-acclaimed album Block 2 the Basement. Taking a risk, Kaze entered the highly-publicized Loud.com MC contest in 2008, and ultimately landed a contract in early 2009 with SRC/Universal.

“Finally having a major label situation is the most rewarding part of my career thus far,” says Kaze. “This lets me know that all of the hard work was not in vain. All of the grind through the years, shows with no one in the crowd, open mics, passing out flyers, being told I wasn’t hot enough, times I wanted to quit… I had to persevere a lot. You do it all with no promise that it will ever happen. It’s like I’m back for the first time. To still be standing here as an artist with the opportunity of a lifetime is a blessing.”

With a strong personality and unique style, Kaze reigns as a tested mic battle champion and regularly lights up stages nationally.  Ingenuity and originality characterize his rhymes, while his words promote political consciousness, address personal trials, and celebrate the passion of Hip Hop.

“Adding things I’ve learned along the way brings my style to where it is now, a combination of soul, jazz, symphony, rock, and pop, expressed as Hip Hop music,” Kaze explains. “I want to make hits, and I won’t sacrifice my creativity for the sake of ‘keeping it real’.  I’m proud to have come up through the ranks of the underground. It made me understand the art of “emceeing” and the importance of lyrical content, how to rock a crowd. This sh*t sounds silly, but it’s not about the money. My goal is to make the hottest quality music out – I want people to genuinely respect me as an artist. I have grown, and I’m representing a second coming of the South – different from what the world thinks they know about us down here. I’m focused on taking it to another level, and that’s what we’re gonna do!”

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