A recent calling has been searing through the troughs of the Hip-Hop community. A backlash against insensible drivel, the same stories being told, over and over again. This backlash resulted in the uprising of Kendrick Lamar and the Pro Era crew after 2011. The short span of Ratking and the touring wave of the Underachievers. The creative renovation of Kanye West and Eminem as well as the rising popularity of J.I.D. and Isaiah Rashad.
Kemba sees the movement happening and wants to be a part of it. He’s been active on this pursuit since his debut album GNK in 2013, his proceeding B-side tapes, and his prestigious 2016 album Negus. His lyrics are politically charged, hovering over modernized, experimental boom-bap instrumentals.
After a short hiatus from his studio work, Kemba has been accruing status as a live performer, just recently performing at SXSW this past March. “Last Year Being Broke” is the inimical return of his studio presence. His dialect is his on-point and his message is clear.
Kemba has a flow that undulates well with his respective beat pattern but articulates at an understandable pace. “Last Year Being Broke” holds a mantra that breaks the lyrics into segments. This single sees Kemba passively venting his work up to this point. Feeling defeated at age 28 is not an option anywhere. Putting down countless hours of work and skill into a craft not guaranteed to sustain comfortable breathing. There is immense pressure to financially secure your family and contain a reputation you’ve built up to this point.
That is the lore Kemba is preaching in this single. As clear and concise as the message is, it is still not void of clever word construction. He’ll make use of alliteration when he can, as well as inking his bars with a few metaphors every so often. “You can hear me speakin’ from this pit, this shit is bottomless. You thought I was powerless, I had that shit bottled in. Now I’m ’bout to body shit.”