Music

First Play: Kemba – Negus

November 22, 2016

By Uptown Toney

During times of turmoil and civil unrest, we the people can always rely on one thing, great music that reflects the times. I know, much of the music that’s being cooked up feels like some microwaved day-old cardboard based, tomato paste flavored pizza from Little Caesars, but there are still artists that are cheffing up savory material.

Just this year alone we’ve had Chicago’s Vic Mensa drop There’s Alot Going On and Compton’s YG put out Still Brazy. Two amazing projects that reflected not only the times but their inner struggles as a black man in America. Although overlooked, another artists to release an immaculate socially relevant rap project this year is Bronx native KEMBA with Negus.

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For those that aren’t hip to KEMBA, just know he’s not a newbie by any means. Rapping since he was nine years old, the emcee formally went by the name YC the Cynic. That is until recently. “I got my name [YC the Cynic] at a time when the coolest thing was to get your name from the people in your hood. So being named YC when I was a kid was cool then but as I turned 21, 22, 23, it became less and less who I am,” KEMBA tells us. “Nowadays, you don’t have to be named by someone to be authentic. It’s no like that any more.”

The name change came after KEMBA released his last project back in 2013, GNK [God, Nigga, King]. This breakthrough effort by the emcee had him as the topic of conversation when it comes to top tier New York lyricists. Three years later, KEMBA has returned to expand on his critically acclaimed LP with something of the times. In comes Negus. Named after the Ethiopian word for …read more

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