Most people love music, however, it takes a special type of person to not only try to make their own, but commit to the process. Kembe X, a rapper hailing from the hip-hop hotbed of Chicago, dropped his first tape, Self Rule, in 2011. Since then, Kembe has consistently released projects while dealing with the ups and downs of life. His most recent project is I Was Depressed Until I Made This, which was released in October. He stopped by the XXL office to drop a new freestyle and tell some stories about his come up.

Kembe X is a lyricist in the classic sense while showcasing a vulnerability and willingness to share his true feelings. To keep it simple, Kembe wants the money. "Keep it a buck, I'm after the dough/I'm tryna be in Venice and invincible/Inventive with the imagery, vivid," he spits. "I can pencil you in, for a scrimmage/Picture grown Simba sparring with Scar/Scarface symbol, line ’em up, barbers."

He also gets some wordplay off: "Do ’em like Bush Laura, with a push starter/Let my dogs give ’em paws like a nigga pushed start."

So how did the Chi-Town rhymer get his start in rap? A rough moment in his childhood sent Kembe into hip-hop. "I wanted to be in a band," he shares. "I grew up around all niggas, none of us listened to rock. Some real shit happened. I got in a fight with my dad, he beat the shit outta me and that Fallout Boy wasn't hittin' like how it was at first." He then started listening to rap and creating it on his own.

His past struggles in his personal life have inspired his newest release. I Was Depressed Until I Made This is quite literally titled. "I went through a lot of shit—pregnancy scare, the weed started making me wild paranoid and I started to drink a lot," Kembe admits. "All that was starting to get overwhelming and I didn't wanna rap no more, so I quit for four months."

Upon his return, his creative process became much smoother. "After I had 100 ideas, 10, 20 songs that I really liked, I was like, I wanna make this a project," he affirms. Kembe's motivation behind it all was simple: "The space I'm usually coming from when I write is tryna find catharsis."

Check out Kembe X's XXL freestyle below.

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