Bronx native Kemba — formerly known as YC The Cynic — has been slowly building up his reputation on the underground circuit, establishing himself as one of the premiere lyricists on the come-up and securing a deal with Republic Records in the process. Now, after a name change and a 2016 album garnering praise for his lyrically-focused, yet forward thinking rhyme style, Kemba is readying the release of his major label debut album, Gilda, named after his late mother. In support of the upcoming release, he’s shared his second single, “Alive,” which features R&B singer Eric Bellinger. Check out the lyrics video above.
The reflective track, built on a soulful loop and with a jubilant chorus sung by Bellinger, describes a recent brush with death that found Kemba running into God — a Black woman, naturally — and celebrating his recovery from a tumor that he says “took my lower jaw / Only made me want it more.” During his visit to the Pearly Gates he also gives God props for creating some of his musical inspirations from Stevie Wonder to Andre 3000 to Drake, taking care to shout out Rick Ross, Phonte Coleman, and even Lil Yachty on the way.
Gilda is due in autumn via Sounds Music/Republic.