Matthew Jefferson, A.K.A., Kemba was once described by The Fader as “The Lion-Hearted rapper who doesn’t give up,” which might actually be an understatement. The Bronx native has overcome two benign tumors and facial reconstruction surgery while growing up as the middle child of a single mother who worked multiple jobs and put herself through college to provide for her sons. Kemba’s lightheartedly witty approach to weighty sociopolitical topics has earned him critical acclaim and a rare Kendrick Lamar co-sign, and last summer’s Negus album has been streamed over 3 million times. Kemba’s next album grapples with a turbulent 2017 which gave him his first nationwide tour and an opportunity to perform alongside Portugal. The Man and Ghostface Killah but also gave him tragedy when his mother passed away in February.