Known originally as YC the Cynic, rapper and producer Kemba is a Bronx native who debuted as a teenager with a level of hip-hop knowledge and individualism beyond his years. Despite making significant headway across the early to mid-2010s with his first alias, the artist opted to change his performing name to Kemba. After releasing the independent mixtape Negus (2016) credited to his second alias, he linked with Republic to issue singles such as "Exhale" (2018) and "Deadass" (2019).
A native of the Hunts Point neighborhood in the South Bronx of New York City, Matthew Jefferson made a name for himself as YC the Cynic. Under that name, he debuted in 2010 with the mixtape You're Welcome, throughout which the then 19-year-old referenced and paid tribute to inspirations including Digable Planets, Big L, and Fugees, all the while showcasing a purposeful lyricism and exacting flow of his own. After another solo mixtape and a co-headlining collaboration with Frank Drake, Jefferson changed his performing alias to Kemba, and made the transition complete with the self-released 2016 tape Negus. A couple singles followed in 2017, after which he began an affiliation with major label Republic. First was the 2018 single "Exhale," co-produced by Frank Drake and Brasstracks with an appearance from Smino. The second Kemba single for Republic, the self-produced "Deadass," arrived in 2019. ~ Andy Kellman