The up and coming Bronx bred rapper, Kemba, known for his personal project Gilda, has returned with another new track titled “Pisces”. Similar to his last album, “Pisces” illustrates the feeling of success after unceasing hardship.
Kemba, formerly known as YC The Cynic, started rapping in 2013 and has continued to produce thought evoking music since. After years of fans, labels and media, the artist decided to leave his original name and choose a title which reflected his roots. According to his label, the title Kemba represents “youth, strength and his African heritage”.
Being from the Bronx has given him an advantage amongst other rappers. He grew up studying artists and the history of technical abilities. His range involved metaphors, similes, and inner rhythm. Thanks to his mentors, Kemba possesses a unique perspective which is proven in his music. His distinctive flow was even acknowledged on Complex’s The Best Rap Verses of 2019. For this reason, “Pisces” is an example of diverse rhythms and reverberating drums, but, what does this title mean?
“It’s a metaphor. The song, to me, is that triumphant feeling of making it out of a tough situation. Where I’m from, there’s a common (overused) idea the only ways to make it out are through sports, music, or drugs. All 3 of those serve the same purpose, to provide the consumer with an escape” says the artist.
This track is an uplifting song meant to feel optimism and courage during the darkest times. Kemba further explains the inspiration behind it,
“I try my best to let the song write itself without getting in the way. DJ Charlie Hustle’s production, along with my living situation at the moment, made the song happen. Me and my brothers had just been evicted from my childhood apartment in Hunts Point. I was living with my big homie in Jersey, and negotiating the deal I had with Republic. It felt like seeing the light at the end of a really dark tunnel.”
Using his experience combined with technical skill, Kemba was able to produce an authentic track that simultaneously relates to his life, encourages his fans and showcases his lyrical ability on a pedestal. By asserting his own heartache and misfortune within his music, he is able to use his platform to produce an honest sound. The question is, how is he able to separate the barrier between his life and what he chooses to express in his music?
“I usually write about feelings that won’t subside. Things that make me uncomfortable or really intrigued. Things or feelings I’m a little obsessed with. I don’t see much of a barrier at all. I actually feel like the more I say in music, the more people will know who I actually am. I guess I hope it will make life easier. Like maybe the more people that hear the honesty in my music, the less I have to wear a mask around” says the rapper.
The realer the artist, the better the sound. Kemba continues to grow in the rap scene, gaining new opportunities with popular artists. He is well known for performing on stage with Kendrick Lamar and working with the production duo Brasstracks. He says he wishes to work with so many more people in the future.
“From Frank Ocean to Burna Boy to Drake to Lido to Mike Dean. Kanye. Kendrick. J Cole. Hov. I want to work with the greats. More than hold my own, I want to bring them into my world, challenge myself by playing in theirs, or create a whole new one” says the ambitious artist.
At the end of the day, what matters to Kemba is his truth. In the words of the rapper, “When it’s all said and done, I just want people to know that I left it all out there on the court. That I did everything I could. And that I was honest. In every sense of the word.”