Doctor on the Mic
Doctor on the Mic
Physician and rapper Kamran Khan, ’10, uses his voice to spread inspiration and information.January 29, 2023
Kamran Khan, D.O., is a man whose life has been affected by pain. The pain of losing his grandmother to diabetes at the age of 8, inspiring him to become a doctor. The pain of his patients, who are his top priority as a hospitalist. The pain of hearing “go back to your country” in the wake of 9/11, or being told he can’t make it in hip-hop because of his Pakistani descent.
Swimming in his own doubts, it was a friend who encouraged Khan to take on the professional name Lazarus, a name now known to countless listeners.
Yes, his life has been affected by pain. But it also surges with hope.
“I’ve had a chance to show people who didn’t think they could be a part of hip-hop or the medical profession that they can,” says Khan, who is an internal medicine physician at multiple medical facilities in the Las Vegas area. “And, I saw I had an opportunity to be part of the discussion about COVID. I’m in a fortunate position in multiple ways to make a difference.”
He does that with his songwriting, too. In “Break the Walls,” for example, a song which has logged more than 2 million views on YouTube, he encourages people to overcome their differences and unite as one.
His talent has led him to open for legends such as multimillion album seller Wu-Tang Clan, performing for tens of thousands. But whether at famed Wembley Stadium or a local gathering, the theme is the same–open minds and open hearts.
Khan still remembers when even his friends and family saw his hip-hop goals as breaking with reality. “Today they’ll ask me how my songs are doing,” says Khan, who grew up in Detroit. “I like being able to show that perseverance pays off.”
He’s a storyteller at heart but his stories most days are in the hospital, where the doctor’s goal is to get patients back to their everyday lives. Khan can even recall rap helping him get to this position—he used verses as a study aid back in his school days. “I think my first song was about cells,” he laughs.
He credits Michigan State with the educational background that took him further. “The school gives you the knowledge and confidence to become a more complete medical professional and I take that experience with me to this day,” says Khan, who started working on his first album, “The Prince Who Would Be King,” while he was a med student.
Khan has landed airtime and interviews on massive platforms like MTV and the BBC, but he knows that what makes him unique is his ability to wield both a mic and a stethoscope. “So many people from both worlds would never guess I’m also from the other,” he says. “But that’s the beauty of it. I love that look when they find out. It’s surprise and then it’s that realization: you can be both.”
Contributing Writer(s): Eric Butterman