Chicago’s newest generation of rappers is as elite as any, from big names like Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa, to overlooked MC’s like Mick Jenkins and Alex Wiley. Dikembe Jabari, otherwise known as Kembe X, is a budding artist from Chicago with a knack for cultivating aggressive and lyrical content. Kembe has been under the radar for years now and is utilizing his transparency to develop his sound with each project, avoiding the scrutiny other big name artists face on a daily basis.
The first mixtape under Kembe’s belt, which features an impressive arsenal of quotable lines, Kembe’s suave flow, and verses from Alex Wiley to Chance The Rapper. His lyrical potency across the board is nothing but effective, touching on politics, his environment and introspective thinking. From a fan’s perspective, the oncoming evolution of a young Kembe was certainly something to look forward to. The standout songs are “Don’t Quit”, “Visions”, “The Wager” and “Give And Take (Feat. Chance The Rapper)”.
“Soundtrack II Armageddon”
An 8-track EP released in 2013, highlighting Kembe’s maturation as a rapper, using newly curated beats instead of older instrumentals that we saw on “Self Rule”. This tape debuts improvement in his flow and delivery. Although the tape isn’t as strong as a whole compared to “Self Rule”, “Soundtrack II Armageddon” marks the start of an impressive growth. The tape features TDE member Isaiah Rashad and Julian Malone. The standout tracks are “Die 4 It”, “Village Over Everything” and “Rap Game”.
ScionAV was at one point sponsoring artists on the verge of fame such as Pro Era. Scion chose to sponsor Kembe on a short self-titled EP, which features Ab-Soul and Alex Wiley. The tape was only 5 tracks, but it was enough to get his point across: Kembe X is on the come up indefinitely. He exhibits further development not only as a rapper, but as an artist as well. “Kembe X” is one of his strongest projects, despite it’s length. “Poker Face” and “As I Unfold” are the standout pieces of the project.
After the Scion EP Kembe began to release singles and work with other artists such as Alex Wiley, up until the release of his debut album. On his SoundCloud there are plenty of hidden gems in the vault, such as “ADD”, “Caged Bird” and “Feeling Like The Man”.
His debut album was unorthodox, but here we see what the last 5 years have helped Kembe evolve into. The lyrical content stays consistent with the precedent, but his maturity is prevalent in the strength of his bars and his songwriting. With a meaningful skit in “Gino’s Disquisition”, aggressive bangers and slow introspective tracks, “Talk Back” makes for one of the best under the radar albums of 2016. The standout tracks are “Loosie”, “What U Say”, and “Welcome To America”.
The past 5 years have done Kembe well, but this is only the beginning. He possesses the skills and connections to continue to stay rapping for years. His fan base has only continued to grow with each project and in today’s industry, a fan base and consistency is all you need to stay afloat until you take off. Kembe X has a bright future ahead; The only question is how long until he catches fire?