In December 2016, Kendrick Lamar waved a member of his New York City audience onto the stage. The acclaimed rapper brings fans up from time to time, but this time was different. Unbeknownst to Lamar, he welcomed a rising star to the gig.
27-year-old Kemba had been making his mark on New York for a while, performing as YC the Cynic and receiving critical acclaim for his old-inspired sounds and wise songwriting. But ever since Lamar pulled him onstage and video of Kemba’s freestyle performance went viral, the Bronx native has been blowing up.
In 2017, he was added to the No Ceilings Tour featuring Boogie, Kaiydo, and Michael Christmas.
“The No Ceilings tour was amazing,” Kemba says. “Such a learning experience. I wouldn’t say life changed, but it was a big step in the right direction—getting to make new fans and meet people that have been listening for a while, and being associated with a really dope brand in Pigeons and Planes. It was dope.”
Since then, he’s released a new single, “LoveGoes,” a remix to JME’s “No You Ain’t,” and another new track, “Hallelujah.”
“Now it’s full steam ahead to getting this album done to one hundred percent completion,” he shares.
Kemba’s next record follows the 2016 full-length Negus, an album deeply inspired by Kemba’s own involvement in the protest marches in Ferguson and more.
“I’ve had more than one life-changing experience since Negus, so I’m finding inspiration in my own life for what may be the first time in my life,” he says.