Exclusive: Rapper who shot himself in face is Army Infantry veteran

U.S. Army veteran Kyle Bolton, aka Kasper Knight. (Popular Military/Kyle Bolton)

The veteran-rapper who shot himself in the face for a music video is telling his side of the story, in an exclusive interview with Popular Military that delves more into his military service, motivation behind his music, the shooting and his dispute with UFC personality Joe Rogan.

Kyle Bolton -better known by his stage name of Kasper Knight- made headlines after shooting himself in the face with a .22 semiautomatic pistol for a music video.

Bolton joined the Indiana Army National Guard in 2008 when he was 17 years old, opting to go into the Infantry branch. When asked why he chose infantry, he said a motivation for battle and money drove him.

“I wanted to fight on the ground,” Bolton said. “I wanted to pick a job where I would actually fight if I were deployed and there was a $20,000 enlistment bonus. Both of those [factors] made me pick it.”

Kyle Bolton after exiting the gas chamber during Basic Training at Fort Benning, GA (Popular Military/Kyle Bolton)
Kyle Bolton after exiting the gas chamber during Basic Training at Fort Benning, GA (Popular Military/Kyle Bolton)

Bolton said that graduating Infantry basic training was the best experience he had during his time in the US Army.

“When I left basic training, that was monumental,” he said. “I felt so free, like I had accomplished something.”

After Infantry OSUT at Fort Benning, Georgia, Bolton was assigned to the 1st battalion of the 293rd Infantry Regiment of the Indiana Army National Guard in what he referred to as a “recon” section.

Bolton expressed frustration that he was never able to deploy, citing that his unit had just returned as he was getting out of basic training.

“By the time I got out of basic, the unit had just got back,” he said in a disappointed tone. “Every time we were scheduled [to deploy] we are canceled at the last minute.”

Describing his time in the Guard, he talked about training at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, where he would train with civilian contractors, Afghan nationals and suffered the wear and tear involved in the rigors of infantry life.

“I liked training,” he said. “Sometimes, when we’d go to Camp Atterbury and train with civilian contractors and people from Afghanistan. I thought that was kind of fun. But worse, was heat rashes during ruck marches…horrible. Going a week without a shower one time, having that liquid diarrhea in the woods that people get sometimes. I was with recon, we’d be out in the woods all the time.”

With a good record and 280 PT score, Bolton had the opportunity to become an E-5, but decided to opt out of promotion since he had no desire to reenlist.

“I could have been an E-5,” he said. “But I knew I wasn’t going to reenlist, so I didn’t want to take up someone else’s slot.”

When asked about shooting himself for the music video, Bolton confirmed that he used a .22 pistol, which Popular Military identified as a Phoenix HP22 target edition.

Related: Rapper claiming to be military veteran shoots himself in face on camera

“I’m not sure what that was,” he said. “I just picked it out at the gun store. It was like a really cheap $150 .22.”

“It was a live round,” he said, when asked about the nature of the ammo. “I had an x-ray and everything. It was in my stomach.”

Bolton said he believes he has access to his x-rays, though he is saving them as “leverage”, as he may be appearing on television shows such as Dr.Phil or Dr.Oz.

“I was thinking about saving it for leverage, since no actual gain has come from this yet. I’ll withhold it for now.”

At the time of the shooting, Bolton confirms that he was outside city limits and had a clear route planned to get to the hospital in case something went wrong.

When asked if he would do anything differently, he said that he would not have rushed the release of the video.

“I wouldn’t have been so quick to release the video,” he lamented. “I was in a rush- the cameraman was taking a while to release the music video. I would have just released them both at the same time.”

“All these blogs are talking about the gunshot, not the music video. I’m also trying to drift into rock, as well.”

When asked what his old military comrades thought of the viral video, he said his small circle of guys he kept in touch with “think it was cool”, though he is currently unsure about what the majority of his old unit thinks.

“I’m not too sure if they would be surprised that I did it,” he said.

Bolton says he may put the Phoenix pistol up for internet auction, possibly to cash in on the fame of a pistol featured in a viral video.

In addition to the video, Bolton began a social media dispute with UFC personality Joe Rogan, after Rogan allegedly spoke ill of his parents on a podcast, saying that they must have been “addicted to meth.”
“My mom is a devout Roman Catholic, so I wasn’t gonna let that slide. That was a dumb assumption, I got a really good mom.”

Bolton said that he would agree to fight Rogan if he could get one year of MMA training.
“If I could have one year of training, I would at least be in the ballpark [of Rogan],” he said. But other than that, if he was ever in my vicinity or said anything…It wouldn’t even be a fair fight unless I had training. But I’m not scared of him at all.”

Bolton said his relationship with his family was “really good”, with his mother in Indiana and his father residing in Oklahoma.

In addition to his aspiring music career, Bolton is into “commissioning art and writing books” as well as an avid interest in transhumanism, which he says he feels is important for the future.

“I wish people would invest more into figuring out how we could replace our biological bodies with bionic ones so that we could be immortal and smarter.”

Bringing up the 2016 presidential election, Bolton said he would back Donald Trump “when the time comes.”

“I know a lot of people don’t like that,” he said. “But I’ve done a lot of research on him and what he’s bringing to the table. I don’t think he’s a racist. I’m half black and half white, so I have no bias.”

Bolton said he is looking to transition his music career from rap to rock and roll, in order to increase his market base and follow his passion for music.

“Until two years ago, I had never thought about making music. Then I started… Now I’m here.”

YouTube video

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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