Kem'Yah is the Toronto-based Rapper who amalgamates the worlds of R&B, Hip-hop, and African-vibe into one. Moving through a revolving door of Reggaeton, Soul incantations, and Urban-bars, this Congolese-traditioned Emcee takes strides over great lengths with a mindset fueled by meditation, the 'good' smoke, and prayer.
His presence behind the mic exudes spirituality in the form of embellishing enlightenment. With influences that traverse notorieties like Buju Banton, Koffi Olomide, and Kendrick Lamar, it's clear that the Canadian has a well-rounded taste in music. Over the years, Kem'Yah has shared the stage with Mystifiers of the identical caliber, but that's not to say his collaborators define him.
His individualistic character penetrates through the barriers of mind and soul. It translates effortlessly through the dynamic and provocative sound he's achieved on records like "Rvse of The Fxllen" and "Pressure." So naturally, his latest endowment of infatuating Urban escapades comes in a rendering of a plump thirteen track congregation titled, "KNOW THYSELF," which demonstrates Kem'Yah's sweet-intoxicating melliferous flow on every cut.
There's no sense in fighting it, the intoxicating island vibes are here to stay, and Kem'Yah is the newest operator behind the entire fad. Songs like "Ritual"—Ft. SunRaae—are prismatic exhibitions of the Torontonian's infatuating verbiage. There's a soca-vibe here that channels the sunniest and most far-reaching shores, but somehow renders up a feeling so close, it sticks like a nectar adhesive to our hearts. His accompaniment isn't far off from the same description. SunRaae attaches herself to edges of the mix as the punchy percussive rhythms synergize over scintillating keysets and a low-end simmer that buzzes underneath it all. Kem'Yah sings with an infatuating after-effect on his voice that warbles over his raspy tonality and reminds us of Modern Hip-hop's most trending notorieties.
"Slide." lands heavy with a perforated low-end and a sundering cross-stick. The production here resembles a new-age Urban-swoon that operates over our mindsets with a smooth buzzing topline. The whirly-edged vocals manifest by penetrating through the twangy samples that steadily pluck at their lines with weightless fingers. There's no denying the island-vibes here, as our intoner accentuates each word with a nonchalant lethargy that becomes common-place amongst the record. Probably the most infatuating detail that embellishes this cut is the manner with which Kem'Yah produces magnetized dynamics through the transition from stanza to hook. It's like a roller-coaster ride; the ride up creates the butterflies in our stomachs, and when the incline reaches its maxima, it's Kem'Yah's liquifying hook that catches us from falling too hard.
As we transition from one dulcified cut to the next, "KNOW THYSELF" starts to feel like a cohesive assortment of aesthetics and character that plays like a remarkable glissando; every note is scored, and the ones that don't have the benefactor of a featured Artist that bares knuckles to the challenge. "Master Life" seldom features far-stretching restraint when it comes to a copy-paste use of the 16th and 32nd note festooned beats that reign over the 808's and exacted trumpet-tongued trap sounds. With a feature from the bar riffling "Black Da Don," the song reconstructs itself into a slow-weaving cut with an aggressive and piercing stanza at its core. On "Make Things Right," Kem'Yah consolidates another featured artist, Zene Soul, and ascertains his actions' full compensation. Here, a simmered soca-inspired bounce gallops over the mix's mystifying edges, which become festooned with Zene's enchanting call-backs and hymn-like mantras. Kem'Yah sings here too, and it's just as beguiling, getting even better when their voices inevitably synergize together.
By now, we've seen the Torontonian super-charge the atmosphere of each track with a magnetizing energy thanks to the unmistakable flowing and verbiage he exudes confidently. His production levels are on the same playing field, but sometimes, one producer tag might be more than enough to let us know who's responsible; here's looking at "High Aura." Songs like this one, and "Stay With Us," find spirituality, though. They evaporate into existence from wavey sonic particles that smooth glide over the topline's air-pressurizing delivery. It's a resounding hook that croons over the sometimes distorting backdrops. There's a doubling of Kem'Yah's voice that acts as a call-back, and it sounds like it's reverberating from a distant car AM car-stereo: giving this captivating cut a tame sprinkle of innovation. "Know Thy Self Again" is a cheekily titled track that mirrors its label by enticing wordplay and a vivid narrative that describes his hates for the low-lives and the law. "Flame" is the highlight of this record thought.
It lands on this final crescendo of a track that renders like butter over the steady dial-down of Kem'Yah's enchanting glissando track curation. It's a whimsical panorama that finds the Canadian Urban-intoner weaving and blending amongst his duplications and ad-lib-like harmonizations. There's no escaping the low-drone that dissolves upwards from bellow here either. It signifies the build-up of magnetized energy that festoons the tracks healthy landing hook each time the transitional sections mute the endeavor for its theatrical effect.
The afterglow we experience from 'KNOW THYSELF' is one that lasts for days, and as the last notes bare down on our cores one more time, we're left darting for the replay button and the "save to favorites" but at the same time.
Hello Kem'Yah and welcome to BuzzMusic. How did you manage to make such a cohesive playback between the multitude of different collaborators who worked on "KNOW THYSELF" with you?
The music I create is spiritual, so being cohesive is in its nature regardless of who the collaborators are.
What's something you invested a lot of time in perfecting about this record, and how did that experience help you grow as a creative collaborator amongst your peers?
I invested my energy in perfecting the message of Afrikan excellence in a manner that I hoped would be well received, remembered & enjoyed.
If you were to pick two or three songs from this record that you feel describes you best as a Songwriter and Artist, which would they be and why?
Know Thyself, Make Things Right & Flame. Three completely different styles and genres of music, each challenging me as a writer because they aren't the type of production I'd normally entertain, however for that reason pushing me to Excell & expect excellence from myself; & as an artist allowing me to tap into the unexplored potential.
Everyone has an ethos for why they do what they do, and we're wondering what yours would be when you think about who you are now as a creative mind after, "KNOW THYSELF?"
My self, my wife, my children, my nation.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
My soul & a clear mind.