Issue #123 – Digital Cover

Published on December 10th, 2019 | by Jerry Doby


Live Session with Kembe X


Critically acclaimed rapper Kembe X amazed us with his latest LP “I Was Depressed Until I Made This (IWDUIMT)”. IWDUIMT is a full ride from the streets to the suites as the wordsmith pulls us into his world with more than just barz, it’s a tale of struggle, perseverance, and intestinal fortitude. In conversation, as with his music, Kembe lays it out with passion and there is no doubt he’s a real deal superstar on the rise.

Back Story – Raised in the South Holland suburb of Chicago, Kembe X found inspiration for his music from his childhood friend and Chicago rapper Alex Wiley and legends like Nas, MF DOOM, and Kanye West. Growing up, Kembe’s mother ran a deeply religious home steeped in Christian music, so it wasn’t until his teenage years that Kembe got his first introduction to hip-hop through Kanye’s Jesus Walks single. His older brother introduced him to other hip-hop sounds from Lupe to Soulja Boy and everything in between, at around the same time his home life took a turn for the worse. In a home where his father (who had lost his job) became violently angry lead Kembe to drop out of high school at 15-years-old, where he found a kindred spirit in fellow dropout Alex Wiley. The two first started making music as a joke before it gradually dawned on them that they might have a real talent beyond shit-talking cyphers. Writing came easily to Kembe, music was a place to channel everything swirling in his head, and in just a few years he went from early bedroom recordings and a 2011 Self Rule mixtape to a move to L.A. which designed to springboard him from aspiring artist to full-time, professional music maker.

Following the release of his 2013 album, Self Rule, Kembe met music manager Moosa Tiffith of Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), which is home to renowned artists Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Schoolboy Q. Moosa (who is also the son of TDE founder Anthony Tiffith) would become a close advisor before officially joining Keme as his official manager in in 2014. Working together they released two critically acclaimed albums in 2016 and 2017, collaborating with other TDE artists including Zacari, Jay Rock, Isaiah Rashad and Ab-Soul.

The Hype Magazine caught up with Kembe X to discuss the new album, his view of himself as an artist, from the outside looking in and more…Tune In!




About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, and internationally published arts & entertainment journalist. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture as well as the United States Press Corps.

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