The Passion of Khryst

Interview with D.V. alias Khryst
By Gentle Jones
originally published for

In the mid 1990’s D.V. alias Khryst was poised to take the music industry by storm. Out of nowhere he made his stellar debut on the critically acclaimed 1996 album, Smooth Da Hustler’s “Once Upon a Time in America” and followed it up with one dazzling guest appearance after another. Then suddenly Khryst fell off the radar, as quietly as he arrived. Gentle Jones catches up with the peerless vocalist to discuss his musical family background, reveal the mystery of the masters, and how Dante Ross frustrated the best efforts of this gifted young man. Where were you born and raised?

Khryst: Brooklyn, Brownsville, New York. We have a no nonsense type of attitude! When were you first exposed to music?

Khryst: I was exposed to music through my mother. She was always going on tour when I was a kid, singing with Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, and going over seas. So that was my first experience. How long has your family been involved in the music industry and what types of work do they do?

Khryst: Well my mother sings, my uncles played instruments; I mean basically my whole damn family does music to some degree. My uncles played behind James Brown, my mother did shows all over the world, and the list just goes on. So what gave you the hip-hop bug and made you want to emcee?

Khryst: Growing up in an environment where you see it every day is inspiring. Plus once I meet Smoothe and Trigger that’s really when it happened. I met Trigger in junior high school. Me, him, and Papoose went to junior high school together but neither was Pap, myself or Trig rapping at the time. I was dancing, and Trigger I met dancing in school as well. That’s how we linked up. Then I meet Smoothe because that’s Trig’s brother. Was "Once Upon a Time in America" the first record you worked on?

Khryst: Yes it was. So did you learn the craft from your family or your peers?

Khryst: It was a combination of the two. I’ve had a lot of coaching from my parents and peers like Smoothe, Trigger and Dr Period. Dr Period helped me sharpen my skills by pushing me. He was like a sensei to me in my training to become D.V. alias Khryst and I thank him for that. He did his job and that was to produce us as artists and I feel he did a damn good job! He didn’t give me my style, but he helped me to believe that I could make it work. You came up in the era when mixtapes were really on tapes, if I remember correctly weren’t you on Tony Touch's legendary 50 emcees project (Power Cypha 2)?

Khryst: Yup! It was me, Trigger, and Ryme Recka on song called “Follow My Lead” we did off of the “Wild for the Night” track that Rampage and Busta had out at the time. It was fun! Shout to Tony Toca! You also appeared on the Cella Dwellas second one, how did you hook up with them cats?

Khryst: Well, me and U.G. knew each other since we were kids. His mother knows my father and my father knows his mother. My pops use to work in Glenn Wood projects in Brooklyn. Nick Wiz had reached out to me and told me that he had a track that I would sound crazy on, and they agreed. Then we just made it happen. It was funny because for a long time I’d been listening to the Cella Dwellas but I never knew it was my dude Alando aka U.G. that was crazy! Phantasm I knew through U.G. so there you have it. I understand that you were just a teenager when you started getting record label attention, it must have been a whirlwind experience for you.

Khryst: Yeah, I had my first deal at 16 with Faith Newman and Tommy Matola of Sony records at that time. Me and my group “RUKUS” was performing in front of them trying to get a deal. So some brothers we knew hooked it up. But when it was all said and done, they wanted to sign me because of my unique style. So they offered something around $300,000 for me to sign. But it was through these guys that were saying they were my managers, and at the time my mother was manager. So when they found that out they backed off, because they didn’t want to get caught up in some shit. So they said fuck it! I was a little mad, but I was happy that they liked what they heard, it kept me motivated. So then what's happened in the past 10 years?

Khryst: Right after the Sony situation, a couple of years later, I received my deal with Def Jam. So it was on! But after that went bad, that’s when I just stayed in the back ground, writing for artists and helping their situations, touring and just putting out 12inches to keep my name out. Me and my mother was out there grinding! (Laughing) Did your record deal at that time get you many other opportunities?

Khryst: Yes, Def Jam came and asked for a song for the Nutty Professor soundtrack. They heard it and flipped out and made “My Crew Can’t Go for That” the third single. The album went platinum plus and the rest is history. The first single was "Ain’t No N*g*a" by Jay-Z featuring Foxy Brown, and the second single was “Touch Me Tease Me” featuring Foxy Brown, Mary J. Blige, and Case. The Capleton record “I Testament” came about from a brother name Ian that worked up at Def Jam at the time. He heard the record and thought I would be perfect for the song. And that’s how all of that happened. You were on that Rawkus “Lyricists Lounge” joint, too.

Khryst: Yeah, me and Lord Have Mercy did a record called “Holy Water” produced by: Nottz. Anthony and Danny of the Lyricists Lounge put that together. They just felt like our voices would work well with each other and we just bonded and made it happen. Lord is like a brother to me. Expect some skull smashing from me and that dude soon! (LORD WHATS UP! SWORD SHEILD! WHATS UP!) So all this time and you have never released a full album?

Khryst: NOPE! Didn’t want to do it unless the timing was right and now the timing is right. Look at the game, I have everybody rapping and singing. Half of them don’t even know where it came from. I’m a young O.G. (Laughs) You must have recorded dozens of amazing songs over all these years, who owns all those masters?

Khryst: I do! All of them! I’m Ray Charles! (Laughs) Didn't you put together an entire record with De La?

Khryst: Yup! And I own that too! (Both laughing) Will we get a chance to hear all these gems you've been sitting on?

Khryst: Yeah, soon! I might put out a “Lost Tape” album like how Nas did. Just so cats could hear the shit I was on at an early stage in my career. Is there anything you've recorded that you lost? Any great sessions gone for good?

Khryst: No, I have all of my music for the most part. And if they’re lost it’s because I scrapped it. (Laughs) Did you finish high school?

Khryst: Not really, I finished school but I had gotten kicked out and sent to like a reform school, and had to take my G.E.D. I did stupid shit sometimes as a kid, but I learned from my mistakes. Did the school system treat you well?

Khryst: No and yes. Growing up in the hood has its disadvantages when it comes to education, because we don’t have the outlets for information that other schools in better neighborhoods have. But it’s on you to educate yourself, and that’s what I did. Were you in band or choir or anything like that in school?

Khryst: Yes, my teacher’s name was Mr. Warren. But I didn’t pay attention in his class like that; it seemed pointless at the time. It wasn’t fun at all. And music class was supposed to be fun. But I made the best out of it. Did you work on a project with Peace from the Freestyle Fellowship?

Khryst: Yes. When I lived in California I met Myka 9 and the homie Peace from the Freestyles Fellowship, through my brother Naptron. Naptron was working on his album “Effect of Metatron” and he brought me out there and I just decided to live there for a while. Myka and Peace are like my family. They embraced me like family when I was out in California, along with Project Blowed and a couple of great people and emcee’s that were out there. Where does your style come from?

Khryst: Don’t know. God is in control & I just follow his lead, when I feel it I just speak it from the heart. When was the last time you went to church?

Khryst: A couple of months ago. I went with Chris styles of Dangerous LLC. He said we were going somewhere and next thing I knew we were walking into church, it was cool too, I liked it a lot. I don’t go to church often, but when some one asks to me go, I go. I believe in God and I believe that God is the only one who can judge so I don’t follow everybody else’s guidelines on how to pray to the Most High. Do you have any children?

Khryst: I have a son; he’s 12 yrs old and I love him with all my heart. He’s the reason why I exist. Have you had to work a job aside from being a part of the music business over these years?

Khryst: Yes. I did home improvement before. That was right after I had my son and before I had my deal with Def Jam. Then I worked in sales for an embroidery company called Expressions / NYC Promos and that’s was cool, I learned a lot working there. And I also help assist in getting people’s credit clean, which I still do from time to time. Shit like that is important, especially nowadays. If you walking around with a nice chain and a nice car with bad credit you should be ashamed of yourself. What advice would you give a young person just getting into the game?

Khryst: LEARN THE BUSINESS. It’s easy to just to be an artist to some degree, but education is so important nowadays with the way computers are taking over, you have to be one step ahead of the rest. And most of all be true to yourself. I’d rather spend 7 days working in heaven than spend one day relaxing in hell. So be true to what you do, because there’s people out there who think like you. So as long as you stay true you, what you believe in, you can reach that audience. How much touring have you done in your career?

Khryst: I’ve been over seas a lot and have done at least 50 states in America, something like that. In 2000, I toured with De La Soul for a while, did the Spit Kickers tour, the MTV campus invasion tour with Black Eye Peas, and Wyclef, that was a cool experience. And then I went overseas to Japan for the second time and did like 6 to 7 cities. So yes I do tour a lot, can’t wait to get back on the road. For some people touring can take a toll because its hard work going from city to city and staying sharp every night.

Khryst: Yes. Your body, from not eating right and drinking plus smoking, starts to shut down. But that’s why I stopped smoking and drink here and there now; I’m more focused than I’ve ever been. Do you play any sports?

Khryst: No. I like boxing but I’m not big on sports like that. This is a rarity for most guys but I’m a music dude, and I like fashion, books, adventure, art, women, etc… (Laughs) Who is your favorite singer?

Khryst: My mother, hands down! She could out sing a lot of people that’s out right now and she looks better than a lot of the younger people that out right now too (laughs) I’m her biggest fan! She’s the one that me got into singing. Who made better records Sam Cooke or Jackie Wilson?

Khryst: I would go with Sam Cooke, but that kind of hard to decide, being that I like the both of them. Through all the different situations you have been in, what project did you enjoy the most while recording?

Khryst: The album that I worked on when I was signed to Def Jam because I was so happy to be living out my dream that it wasn’t even funny. I thank God every day for that experience. And everybody at Def Jam that allowed that to happen, even though the album didn’t come out. I’m proud of that project because that was the first time I knew I was capable to do an album by myself. I mean I had trumpet players in the studio, all kind of musicians, my dad on bass, my mother and my aunts on backgrounds! It was amazing! It’s funny when I see Kanye West I see a lot of my self. That passion, that love for the music, I think that the day that me and him get in the studio it’s going to be a wrap, along with Doctor Dre, Quincy Jones! Aw man it would be a wrap! Timbaland too! But it will happen. I believe that. So how did that Def Jam album get shelved?

Khryst: It wasn’t actually shelved. I was signed to Dante Ross’ imprint and when the Imprint was dropped from Def Jam I was still signed to them and Def Jam could not release the album until Dante let me out of the contract with his imprint, which he didn’t do. Dang, why did he do that?

Khryst: He did it just to be an asshole, and he will admit that. So what, you don’t speak to the fella now?

Khryst: I spoke with him two years ago and told him that I forgive him, because I don’t think he knew at the time how bad he was fucking up my career with that. Why do so many wack records still get on the market when dope cats like yourself don’t get heard?

Khryst: It’s all political. It’s who you know, not how much talent you have anymore. So you have the right connection and a decent record, then you can get some radio spins along with a nice wallet. It’s about branding and corporate alliances. But the true will eventually get their time to surface. You just can’t let up, that’s all. When do we finally get to hear an official Long Player from DV Alias Khryst?

Khryst: Very soon. I’m finishing up as we speak. My album is entitled “I’m Chosen” subtitled “B.K.” (Before Khryst) so be expecting that very soon, on Koch early 2008. Right now it’s all about my new single “Swag Tag” feat. Retsam and you can get the ringtone by simply texting ST1 TO 20421 you’ll be able to get the “On Deck” ringtone also by downloading it from the goto net service straight to your phone. And you can also get the single on I-tunes, Rhapsody, Napsta etc… So we’re moving! A new video is coming soon as well. The mixtape I have out now is D.V. alias Khryst vs. Max B of Dipset. Download it for FREE here: click to download

You can find D.V. alias Khryst at

Gentle Jones can be reached at


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