KenTheMan Gets Real About Double Standards In Hip-Hop
"We've always had our rights snatched from us. We can't be too strong, we can't be too independent or have too much money or a strong mind."
August 10, 2022 at 1:28 pm
Superstars don’t just happen — they’re born in Houston, Texas. The populous city has given us some of our most influential entertainers, including Debbie Allen, Beyoncé, Megan Thee Stallion and others. The latest addition to that list is an up-and-coming rapper by the name of KenTheMan.
We went down south for our latest addition to our series of interviews with women hip-hop artists to discuss their respective career trajectories. As she steadily climbs the ranks to worldwide acclaim, her arsenal of witty bars and unlimited talent supply are just a few reasons why that climb won’t take long. KenTheMan sat down with Blavity News to discuss the double standards between men and women in hip-hop, how her artistry inspires confidence within her fans and much more.
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It’s safe to say that the Houston native is no stranger to hard work. Whether it’s creating visuals to compliment her extensive flow or dropping freestyles that leave the studio in smithereens, she’s a hard worker. This work ethic is something that comes naturally to KenTheMan, courtesy of her father.
“I’ve seen my dad hustle my entire life. He made sure that we had nice things. We never saw the struggle, and I admire him for that,” KenTheMan said. “I was just taught to pull it together by yourself, get it done and go get it.”
That same work ethic has allowed the artist to handle the pressures of career advancement on her journey to success. While KenTheMan attributes her ability to persevere to her father, her journey as an independent artist before signing to a label has contributed a great deal to her resilience, especially when it comes to being a signed artist.
“It is still a challenge and a work in progress. It’s not easy, and everything is not handed to you. You still have to go get up and do the work,” KenTheMan told Blavity News. “It just prepared me to be untouchable and unstoppable because I’ve had nos, I’ve had yeses, I’ve had struggles, and I’ve had ups and downs.”
The pros and cons of being an independent artist
When KenTheMan reflects on her time as an independent artist, she feels the most significant lesson learned was the importance of planning before investing her funds.
“Make sure you plan things out before you spend because when you are an independent artist, everything’s coming out of your pocket,” KenTheMan said. “That was the hardest part about it. You have to save for some stuff and then sometimes it isn’t your complete vision because you don’t have enough to do these elements.”
KenTheMan feels that one of the benefits of being an independent artist, however, is the assurance that the admiration she received from her fans was genuine and not due to the backing of any label.
“It is cool because it’s like, wow, people are really falling in love with you for being you. Not because there’s a machine behind you,” KenTheMan told Blavity News. “I appreciated being independent and being booked every weekend with no backing.”
Double standards in hip-hop
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Just as many have praised the hip-hop artist’s brilliance as a rapper, some have labeled her music as cocky or aggressive. These criticisms, rarely dubbed upon her male counterparts, are ones she doesn’t care to entertain.
“We’ve always had our rights snatched from us. We can’t be too strong, we can’t be too independent or have too much money or a strong mind,” KenTheMan said. “I really don’t care about the standard because I’ve always been the person to break the barrier and do the things that people would not expect me to do or people tell me I can’t do. I love it because it gives me a thrill. F*** a double standard.”
As KenTheMan continues to progress as an artist, there’s another important role to her: motherhood. One life lesson that she wants to impart to her son as he grows is to continue searching for what makes him happy, as it will make life that much better.
“I was a person that just kept trying different things, and I could never find my niche. I could never find something I felt passionate about. I was starting to get lost and confused, and I was like, ‘what am I going to be in life?'” KenTheMan told Blavity News. “I would just tell him to keep trying different things until you find something that you’re in love with because it makes your life easier when you actually like what you’re doing.”
To keep up with KenTheMan and her music, follow her on Instagram.