Rap duo Khaki and X-GD make waves in Denver underground rap scene

Elena Waldman

New-wave rap is taking over mainstream music and ‘Soundcloud rapper’ is now a familiar term to many hip-hop fanatics.

Among these artists are 19-year-old rapper Jake Granader and producer Justin Roach, known by their stage names Khaki and X-GD respectively, are helping to build Denver’s underground hip-hop scene.

Ad

Granader, who released his first single “Adolescence” in 2016, started rapping long before the duo started collaborating. Granader came up with the stage name Khaki in high school, borrowing inspiration from the well-known Jake from State Farm commercials

“Pursuing rap as a white boy, I thought people were gonna laugh at me,” Granader said. “I was trying to make it so that if people were laughing at me, I wouldn’t really care. The name [Khaki] just kinda stuck.”

Two young boys sit in a car with stacks of loose paper on the windshield.
Rap duo Khaki and X-GD. (Sam Killinger| Photographer)

Granader grew up in Castle Rock, Colorado and turned to music as a result of feeling like an outcast in high school.

“I was at a private Christian school,” Granader. “If you were different, you were sh*t on. The first time I was introduced to a new scene was when I got an internship at a shop called Station in Five Points. People looked differently and dressed differently…that was completely new to me.”

Granader met Roach a few years ago through mutual friends. At the time, Roach was also making EDM tracks and hip-hop beats for several other artists, earning a reputation of creating innovative and interesting computer-generated sounds. Shortly after meeting and becoming friends, the two began working together.

There’s a lot of potential in the Denver music scene…It just needs more interaction and visibility.”-Justin Roach, producer for Khaki

“I just went over to his house one day and we made music,” Granader. “It started off super casual but now….I can’t imagine my life or my music without him. I’m writing lyrics and performing them, but that guy does everything. He mixes and masters every track. He’s really an underrated genius.”

Roach, who has been making music since he was young, began focusing on producing hip-hop beats in high school. He had heard about Khaki through social media, as the young rapper had gained a following on Twitter. The two found they had a natural musical chemistry, and began to work exclusively together. After a year in the making, Khaki and X-GD’s 12-song album titled “Next God” just released in July.

Next God can be found on Khakis Soundcloud, @Khaki.

Teen boy in a striped jacket sits in a car.
Photo of rapper Khaki for Next God Album cover. (Sam Killinger | Photographer)

Granader, who has previously explored darker tones in his lyrics, felt music helped him accept his struggles and talk about them in a cathartic way. His goal with “Next God” is to encourage people to do the same.

“I want people to appreciate their struggles, and what makes them different,” Granader said. “I want people to stop looking negatively at themselves and stop looking negatively at others to make themselves feel better.”

I never felt like the cool kid. I felt like other kids were so much happier than me…I think a lot of people feel that way.”-Jake Granader, Denver rapper known as Khaki

The duo hopes to change the underground music scene and make it more fun and inclusive.

Ad

“There’s a lot of potential in the Denver music scene…so many dope venues and great culture,” Roach said. “It just needs more interaction and visibility. There are so many amazing artists out there that blow my mind that more people need to see.”

Granader and Roach can be reached on their respective Instagram pages, @wearyourkhakis and @x.gddd. Their new album Next God can be found on Khakis Soundcloud, @Khaki. For any more information on the artists, their website is www.influence-s.com/next-god

Editors Note: A previous edition of this article incorrectly spelled Jake Granader’s last name. This article has been updated to reflect the correct information. 

Collegian reporter Elena Waldman can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @nicejewishgirl3.