Published on June 1, 2013 by Amy
James Lowery, also known as Anybody Killa, or ABK (June 26, 1973), is a Native American rapper from Detroit, Michigan whose stage persona is that of a Native American warrior. He is signed to Psychopathic Records.
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Lowery was raised on the east side of Detroit. His parents were from Pembroke, North Carolina and were of the Lumbee tribe. Lowery’s father was a preacher. His aunt and mother taught him about his Native American heritage, telling him Cherokee and Lumbee legends and teaching him about dreamcatchers. Lowery started making music at a young age, using anything he could find as instruments, and began writing his own songs at the age of 13. By the age of 15, local kids would pay to watch him perform in his garage.
In 1995, he formed the group Krazy Klan with childhood friend Lavel, performing as Jaymo and J-ho, respectively. During this period, Lowery worked at a side plant that produced parts for Chrysler. His middle finger was cut off in an accident. After releasing two albums independently and performing at local clubs and parties, Krazy Klan broke up.
Seeking a solo career under the stage name “Native Funk,” Lowery released his first solo album, Rain from the Sun. After being introduced to rapper Chris Rouleau, known professionally as “Blaze Ya Dead Homie,” Lowery adopted the stage name “Anybody Killa,” and the two toured as the opening act for Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid.
Lowery signed to Psychopathic Records, and recorded his second album, Hatchet Warrior, released on April 8, 2003. It peaked at #4 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart, #42 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and #98 on the Billboard 200. Allmusic reviewer Johnny Loftus wrote that “Mostly, Hatchet Warrior is a rehash of mystique. References to Faygo abound and shout-outs to Detroit and the Juggalos are frequent, while much of ABK et al.’s raps are workmanlike run-throughs of familiar themes”.
On July 27, 2004, Lowery released his third album, Dirty History. It peaked at #7 on the Top Heatseekers chart, #10 on the Top Independent Albums, #53 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and #152 on the Billboard 200. Lowery also joined the groups Dark Lotus and Psychopathic Rydas, performing in the latter as “Sawed Off.” Lowery and Rouleau also formed the group Drive-By. The EP Road Fools, released on March 22, 2005, peaked at #23 on the Top Independent Albums chart. In 2006, Lowery left Psychopathic, continuing to release albums and merchandise from his Native World label. In 2007, Lowery performed Main Stage at the Gathering of the Juggalos, and returned to Psychopathic Records the following year. Since his return to the label, he has released two additional full-length albums, Mudface and Medicine Bag. The December 21, 2012 edition of Hatchet Herald indicates that Lowery will release a new album in 2013.
Lowery’s lyrical content draws heavily from his Native American heritage. Lowery refers to his style as being “like a spiritual rap”. He states that “I get a vibe from dreams, more or less. That’s where a lot of my writing comes from. That and a lot of my fans’ personal experiences. It’s their music, my fans’ music. I’m just putting it to words behind lyrics for them.” In his review of Hatchet Warrior, Johnny Loftus describes the album as crossing Native American culture with gangsta rap and horror themes and humor derived from Juggalo and cannabis culture. Lowery has a lisp, which gives him a distinctive delivery. According to Lowery, “A lot of fans will say, ‘Oh, he’s just doing that to make it up.’ Why would I want to make up a lisp while I’m rappin? I wish it was gone sometimes but a lot of people love it.” In his interview in a 2008 documentary called Shockumentary-Behind the hatchet, Lowery said he would be staying with Psychopathic Records once and for all.