Khaleel Mandel says, “When it all comes down to it, music unfolds undiscovered
messages. Discovering the unknown full time keeps me creative.” Khaleel Mandel,
rapper/producer/singer-songwriter/composer/multi-instrumentalist was born in
Boston Massachusetts, and raised in Bridgeport, CT. As a baby Khaleel would
attend numerous of his professional bass player father Carl Carterʼs
performances. Now in Broadwayʼs Tony Award Winning Come From Away, Carlʼs
earlier work includes serving as Grammy Award Winning rap group Digable
Planetsʼ bassist in 1994. The year Khaleel was born. At a Sound-check for the
tour of classic album Blowout Comb Khaleel was in brief attendance in his carseat. From that point on Hip Hop culture was immovable from him.
In 2004 after Khaleel performed a rendition of “Rockin Robin” at Bridgeportʼs
Playhouse Theater. Out on a limb, his mother sent the DVD version of that
performance to the casting agency for Broadway musical The Lion King. Fast
forward to 2005 Khaleel booked the role of Young Simba in the showʼs West Coast
Tour company. Khaleel won the award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a
Musical from San Diegoʼs annual National Youth Theater Awards. Making him the
only actor who played Young Simba to win anything for the role. After leaving the
show Khaleel went on to have numerous guest appearances for skits on Late
Night With Conan oʼBrien and a guest role on Season 8 of Law and Order SVU.
In 2005 after hearing Jay-Zʼs “Change Clothes” for the first time, Khaleel was
motivated to routinely research the science about techniques for constructing rap
songs. While on tour with The Lion King Khaleel always found time to create his
own music on his fatherʼs Dell laptop and M-Audio keyboard. The clarity Khaleel
gained from music softwares was strengthening by High School.
“The willpower of practicing juggling fruit is addictive, but when you keep
dropping a piece for healthʼs sake you must eat the one not from the ground”; Is
how Khaleel describes his choice to leave college before his final year and pursue
his music career full time. While in attendance at Penn State for musical theater
Khaleel met Vaughn Davis, artist and now co-owner of their company
DoubleCrown Inc. Which was officially formed at the end of December 2016.
“The Double Crown logo of two crowns, represents the emergence of two
singular identities, forming, coming together as one. The first crown is of the
Pschent, a double crown representing both Upper and Lower Egypt worn after the
uniting of the two regions in Ancient Egypt. The second crown is the traditional
solid gold crown typically seen in European rule. The concept of the double
crowns symbolically represents the merging body with the mind. When both the
physical and the metaphysical has aligned itself with one, then we are able to
transcend into something way beyond the measures for which the mind can
On October 12th 2018, Khaleel released his debut self-produced album Original.
The album is an intricate combination of genres such as Hip Hop, R&B, Pop,
Reggae, Funk, Indie Rock & Avant Garde. Thereʼs versatility from the hard-hitting
rap centered title track, to the orchestral ballad containing Harpsichord, Acoustic
Guitar & Strings, ʼSnow On a Mondayʼ. The album is definitely as Khaleel puts it “a
whirlwind of my thoughts for two years”.
September 2016, around a month after Khaleelʼs debut mixtape Dead Weight
released was when he started working on Original. Work on the new album took
place in Connecticut, Massachusetts & Barbados. The albumʼs sole feature is
Khaleelʼs cousin and fellow member of the DoubleCrown roster Keion Jevon.
Khaleel states “I knew exactly how I wanted the album to sound, the chronological
order of each track and a few other key components for over a year. The
rollercoaster challenge was executing the vision to a tee. Me being the only
producer on the album made it simpler to work through a ‘no room for errorʼ kind
J Dillaʼs Donuts, the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership, Q-Tip, Stephen
Sondheim, Talking Heads & EWF were among some predecessors Khaleel listened
to during Originalʼs creative process. “The biggest goal for this LP was to make
something that hasnʼt been made yet. A reason behind the title ‘Originalʼ is it
being one of its own body of work made by one person. Which I hope people will
recognize at their own pace.”
Original available on Apple Music & all streaming services today.