photos / Blessing Marie
styling / Helen Barbieri
hair + makeup / Janeiro @ Art Dept
story / Miz Kane
“I want my music to touch whoever it needs to touch. I don’t want there to be any boundaries or limits on who it speaks to.”
Unbiased words of a budding artist, rapper K’Valentine is ready to tear down the music industry with an open mind and unapologetic, contradicting duality. Hailing from Chicago, the Talib Kweli protégé proudly holds as a representation for the multidimensional listener with her versatile, artistic styling and relatable, down-to-Earth personality. Empowered by book and street knowledge, Valentine delivers a presence that straddles female rapper archetypes. Refusing to chose between her sexuality and consciousness, the emcee offers an unpredictable pairing of the two that varies from song-to-song.
The competition you don’t see coming, she’s a wolf in plain clothes; not because she’s sheisty or treacherous but because she represents the power of the average, everyday person and that’s a dangerously underestimated trait.
Speaking to her on the release day of her first album, K’Valentine explains to us why she is Here For a Reason.
First off, I want to say congrats on releasing your first album! How excited are you?
Thank you! I’m ecstatic. I feel really grateful…to be able to convey a message via hip hop and use my gift and just that it all finally came together because it was a process.
I know you’ve previously stated that you didn’t even think that you were ready for an album?
I’m glad that I had [a] conversation with Talib because he’s the one who encouraged me. He was like, “No, you’re ready for an album,” because my mentality was to keep making mixtapes…Those songs can never be for sale. You can’t make a classic off of those so I’m grateful that I took heed to what he was saying and now we’ve got Here For a Reason.
What was the vision for the album?
.I guess my structure was to allow everything to happen organically. How I work…is I listen to the production. The production begins the song and I finish it with my lyrics. I write whatever I feel compelled to write when I feel the beat…It wasn’t like, “OK, I want to make this song about this…” Why I love this album so much is because it’s…100% me.
Speaking of you being you, in the past you’ve touched on how you represent a woman that you don’t feel is represented in hip hop…What kind of woman that is exactly?
Not being judgemental because I speak sexually as well, but…with the female artists that are in the spotlight currently, they either are super conscious or super sexual. I feel like I am a…combination of those and many other things. You’ll get something [on the album] that will make you feel uplifted…empowered…sexy. There are so many different aspects to being a woman and I touch on all of them. I can’t be put in a box…
Basically, you are all about duality?
Yeah, definitely! My album is (laughs) full of contradictions and different things. It shows that I’m human. We’re human! This album is very true to that. I’m honest and I’m open…I find being that way allows me to relate more to people. A lot of us go through the same stuff; you just have to be confident enough to speak about it and I am.
You’ve talked about the importance of self-motivation in this high-and-low industry. Which tools do you utilize to do just that?
Number one is prayer…I surround myself with positive energy. I read a lot. I read about people and I study people who have already accomplished what I’ve aspired to [accomplish]. I get motivated reading about their trials and tribulations and the struggles that they’ve faced… Anybody that makes it and becomes great, they’ve faced some form of adversity at some point in their journey.
Which books have you been reading lately?
The most two recent were My Voice by Angie Martinez…I finished it in like three days because it was really good. I was just so geeked that she interviewed Tupac. Tupac is like my husband (laughs). And Assata, that’s the one I’m reading now.
I know that you’ve probably picked up several being around Talib Kweli, but what’s one gem that has really stuck out to you that you’ve learned from him?
One day we were talking and he said, “K, you don’t need the industry; the industry needs you.” That stuck with me because it was at that moment I was like, “Yeah, I really am the prize. I’m bringing something to this.” With or without the industry, I’m going to get my message across.
Blazer / Thii Earrings / CHRISHABANA for Gypsy Sport Necklaces / Noir
Coat / Tianchi Ma Earrings / Hart Rings / CHRIS HABANA
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