Born and raised in the south side of Houston, Texas, the artist was given the name Daraja Hakizimana (a Bridge to Salvation) in 1999 by the Shrine of the Black Madonna, the Houston branch of The Pan African Orthodox Christian Church. He accepted the name Daraja Hakizimana as it signified his new beginnings down a more spiritual path, both musically and mentally.
Daraja began composing music at the age of 13 gathering inspiration from his father’s extensive music library. To this day, the artist attributes his diverse musical influences to Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Miles Davis, Willy Nelson, Sade, 2-Pac, Jodeci and Paul Hardcastle even though in his words he adds, “I listen to everything I can get my hands on.”
Today, Daraja’s musical style is best known for its rap compilations layered on top of jazz and R&B-influenced electronica music. His lyrics speak of his personal experiences whether that be love, loss, self-reflection, politics or good times; the themes are relevant to common human emotion.
Daraja debuted onto the Houston poetry scene in 1998 with his first group Kamakazae with a performance at Houston’s now defunct A-Bar. Kamakazae comprised of Daraja and fellow singing artist Mitchelle’l (T.I./Grand Hustle Records).
As a regular performer in Houston’s live concert venues, Daraja has worked with many of other established artists including Angie G, Z-Ro, K-Rino, Dope-E, Shan-No, Point Blank, The SPC Family, Mo-Lew, Murder 1, 144 Elite, Jugg Mugg, Rob Quest, 2 Die 4, Se7en, Smit-D, 14K, Trae, Scarface, Lil O, Wickett Crickett, Rapper K, Odd Squad and of course, Devin The Dude.