Back in 2013 an unknown Grenada calypsonian burst onto the Trinidad and Tobago Soca scene. That year he literally pushed onto the soca stage holding his own with Trinidad and the Caribbean best soca maestros. It was the first glimpse of the versatile and dynamic Mr. Killa who dominated at every stage with his signature dance moves and antics. His signature “Roly Poly” was definitely an eye opener.
The International Soca Monarch title has gone to Grenada. In the recent Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, Mr. Killa was announced the winner of the Power Soca category and the new ISM title-holder. Killa who was an early favorite, manhandled the soca crowd, the included veteran Iwer George as his title song ‘Run With It’, proved too hot to handle. Mr. Killa won the one million dollar prize beating local favorite Iwer George into second place. Grenada also picked up the third place with up and coming soca star Mr. Legz. In the Groovy Soca category, Swappi claimed the top spot for the first time in his soca career. Teddyson John from St Lucia placed second while V’ghn from Grenada placed third.
Mr. Killa had three releases for the 2019 Trinidad International Soca Monarch competition: ‘Run Wid It’ on the Planet Jab Riddim, a collaboration with Terri Lyons on the Afro Jab Riddim called ‘Way Yo Dey’ and another collaboration with Benjai called ‘Jab Party’ on the Hot Bottle Riddim. Until winning the ISM crown, Mr. Killa hasn’t been a prominent force locally since ‘Rolly Polly’ but he’s has maintained an international presence as he seeks to push soca into global consciousness.
“I kinda just been growing as a soca artist internationally and also getting into different genres reggae etc from ‘Rolly Polly’. That was the song to get on the flight, that was the passport, the visa. I have been traveling as an artist from very young, I won the Road March in London but the recognition that ‘Rolly Polly’ brought to me was on a different level, it took me to an international market and since then I have been holding and keeping that standard, “Mr. Killa (real name Hollis Mapp) said in a recent interview.
Besides touring the world and performing, Mr. Killa, who was born in St. John’s, Grenada, has been honing his acting skills as part of the cast of a Bravo reality show, the First Family of Hip Hop. The show centered around the family of Sylvia Robinson dubbed “The Mother of Hip Hop” for her help in bringing the genre into the mainstream through the famed label Sugar Hill Records, which she co-founded in the 1970s with her husband Joe. Sugar Hill produced the first rap record ‘Rapper’s Delight’. The reality show ran from January to March 2017
A cultural ambassador for Grenada, Mr. Killa said operating outside of the Caribbean has shown him what is missing when it comes to taking Soca mainstream. “I believe in the saying believe in yourself and then one day the world will believe in you. Soca is a child to a lot of genres and it is in the maturing stage, going through puberty, soca is literally finding itself. That is all. We have to have patience,” he said, likening the genre to that of a tree