Kyle Herman is trying to find hip-hop's funny bone.
The 24-year-old rapper, aka Killakake, says he's too silly to fret about his swagger.
"I have a crazy, goofy personality," he said. "I'm not afraid to make people laugh. I'm just all for different ways to get people's attention and separate myself."
He raps with guys in gorilla suits, gives away jockstraps on his Facebook page and leaves fliers for his shows in urinals.
Despite his zany antics, Killakake is serious about music. It's been his focus since middle school, when he picked up a guitar, sang on cassette records and joined the band.
He saw B.B. King play the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center and got hooked on blues and blues-inspired guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. In Central York High School, Killakake discovered hip-hop.
"I've always been inspired by Eminem," he said. "He's a lyrical genius."
While crafting his own mixes, he got inspiration from producers like Dr. Dre and J Dilla. He tweaked his nickname - Kake - to make his own rap identity.
After high school, he turned his focus to film, which he studied for four years at Penn State. Music took a backseat, but he still made raps on his four-track recorded and added to his vinyl collection.
When he graduated in 2011, Killakake decided to pack up and head to Hollywood with his best friend. He had fond memories of the nice weather and chill vibes from childhood trips.
"I just figured I'm going to be doing music production and video editing," he said. "I figured L.A. was the best place to be. I feel like it is the right environment."
During the last year, Killakake has started to make contacts and carve out his place in the music scene. He's used to being in the studio working on tracks for other artists. So, setting up solo shows was daunting at first. A short set at a show in Beverly Hills boosted his confidence.
"I got a lot of respect from other artists and people from the crowd," he said. "(Performing) has become a little more addicting now."
It's fun to see people's faces instead of relying on online feedback, he added.
In March, he released a track called "Golden State." He shot the video, which shows him sunning with beach bunnies, flipping burgers and shot-gunning beer. He and his friend, Bill Isaminger, used a skateboard cam and took a waterproof camera into the Pacific Ocean.
Killakake hopes to release his debut album, "I Hate Normal," soon. The title speaks to his approach to music and life. His plan is to pack in plenty of party-ready lyrics and videos. But lots of work comes before play.
From the hours he's spent poring over vinyl covers, Killakake said he knows the project has to be a complete package - back to front.
"The cover art ... influences how I listen to it and how I feel about it," he said.
The plan is to let fans download the songs for free.
"I want to give it away to people and show them what I'm going for," Killakake said. "I want them to see my creativity."
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
If you go
See Killakake 7 p.m. Saturday at New Grounds Roasting Co., 284 W. Market St., York. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Cover is $5. For details, visit newgroundscoffee.com.
Read more meet-the-artist interviews: flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory
Trivia at New Grounds
A new trivia game Content10n will kick off 8 tonight at New Grounds Roasting Co., 284 W Market St., York.
Teams can attempt to score points by creating a top 10 lists in various categories. One point is earned for each correct entry. The first team to earn 100 points - or earn the highest score after 20 rounds - wins a prize package that includes gift cards.
Cost is $1 to enter the competition. Part of the entry fee goes toward the prize package. For details, visit facebook.com/content10n.