According to Rolling Stones, 1988 was Hip Hop’s greatest year. Not only was the nation taken by storm with 15 of the most notable hip hop albums, but it was the birth year of Kiilanda Hicks (a.k.a. Sneek). October 23 1988, two months after the release of NWA’s Straight Outta Compton...the album that made rap explode, we were graced with another soon-to-become Hip Hop genius. Born into a military family, Kiilanda had the luxury of world travel at a young age. From the US to Japan, Kiilanda’s musical influences are vast. In 2001, she narrowly escaped a life threatening illness that left her without the ability to walk, talk or feed herself. Doctors saw little hope and were confident she would be lucky to survive this horrific series of events. Yet here we are 15 years later and aside from a scar that adorns her neck, Kiilanda appears unscathed. As a Christian, Kiilanda battled “church folk” with her interest in mainstream rap. What initially appeared contradictory to her spiritual foundation became more therapeutic. Her love of music and poetry rehabilitated her in ways doctors could never comprehend. The art of hip hop expression and the world of formal education are fully intertwined for Kiilanda. In 2012 she received her BA in Sound Arts from Ex’pression College. She is a prolific songwriter, producer, lyricist and self proclaimed “audio geek”. Threads of jazz, and R&B will always be found weaved throughout her music. Her edgy yet gritty sound calls to mind rappers like Missy Elliot and Lady of Rage. Yet her musicality oozes influences of Ice Cube, Dre and Snoop. Kiilanda stays on her grind, opening for artists such as E-40, Lupe Fiasco, Miguel and The Jacka. A lover of all things music, her dial is fully set and she is about to explode.
Photographer: Cam The Camera Man