Behind the Music
Kimani "Kasino" Davis first began his musical career at the age of 17 in 1990s New York as part of the second golden era of hip-hop music. Born in the Bronx and raised in Yonkers, Kasino attended high school with his close childhood friends and future L.O.X. members, David "Styles P" Styles, Jason "Jadakiss" Phillips, and Sean "Sheek Louch" Jacob. Dubbed by many as the fourth member of The L.O.X., Kasino was closely affiliated with the famed Ruff Ryders hip-hop collective that boasted legendary artists DMX, Swizz Beatz, and Eve. Kasino established himself early on through rap battles, eventually landing on several major mixtapes. One such mixtape, DJ Clue’s 1996 Show Me The Money, debuted Kasino’s underground smash “Well, Well, Well” featuring The L.O.X., catapulting their careers to a much wider audience.
Shortly after signing to Jive Records, Kasino was featured on DMX’s It's Dark and Hell Is Hot [RuffRyders/Def Jam], as the first verse of the song "For My Dogs" (along with Big Stan, Loose, and Drag-On). Released on Def Jam Records in 1998, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, selling over five million copies around the world. Widely regarded as an album that changed the course of hip-hop, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot continues to be recognized as a classic more than two decades after its release.
Among his many credits, Kasino wrote and performed the single, "Nasty Girl," which was featured on Def Jam's 1998 Rush Hour Soundtrack, peaked at number five on the Billboard 200, and was certified platinum in January 1999. Kasino reunited with The L.O.X. on their certified platinum sophomore release, We Are The Streets [RuffRyders/Interscope], featuring a verse on the hard-hitting "Can I Live." Kasino’s other prominent releases include "Things Ain't the Same" on the Blade (starring Wesley Snipes) movie soundtrack [TVT/Epic], selling over 500,000 units, as well as "Men of Respect," featuring frequent collaborators, The L.O.X., on The Corruptor: The Soundtrack in 1999 via Jive Records.
In 1998, Kasino graced the cover of hip-hop power publication XXL magazine, solidifying his place in hip-hop history. The iconic cover photo, titled “A Great Day in Hip-Hop,” finds Kasino positioned alongside influential hip-hop artists of the era, including Kool Herc, Russell Simmons, Grandmaster Flash, and many others.
With his prolific career spanning over 20 years and major contributions on over eight million records worldwide, Kasino’s body of work continues to impact, influence, and entertain generations of hip-hop music fans.