Sep 16, 2015

Feature: Keys Era (@keysera_); A Niles P. Joint

It’s rare that you get to see an emcee’s career take shape from its inception. I’m not talking jumping on a bandwagon after a mixtape gets publicity on Hip Hop DX.  I’m talking finding out an Instagram friend raps and being up on their career for the first four Soundcloud joints.  Even more rare is finding an emcee that comes from a without much of a hip hop background that’s paving their own way without the help of a crew/collective or cosign from a veteran.

The rapper I’m talking about that fits all of the aforementioned criteria is Keys Era.  She hails from Chester, Pennsylvania; it’s an area that has bred many athletes but no emcees from what I can see.  The budding emcee has been influenced by rap royalty including 2Pac, Big Daddy Kane, ATCQ, Nas, Big L, Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, and also newer rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Joey Bada$$, and Capital STEEZ.  The last two are noteworthy because despite being from just outside Philly, her sound thus far has been very Brooklyn inspired.  That, coupled with her name might invoke a connotation with Pro Era.  However, her moniker derives from a shortened version of her name along with her love for the golden era from the 90's and the fact that every time she gets on the mic she’s just being her and this is her time.  Her whole aesthetic was influenced by her father who exposed her to the music of hip hop’s golden age as she was growing up.

Now that you have some background, it’s time you meet her music.  Her Soundcloud currently has four tracks.  The first one is “Lazy” which describes the feeling of sloth perfectly over a slinky and carefree beat.  Keys Era utilizes a relaxed flow on this one that oozes out of the speakers/headphones.  Luckily for us, she doesn’t stay on her lazy shit for too long and has more molten lava to spit.  “Brooklyn” actually starts off with a guest verse from Geronimoe but make no mistake this track is owned by Keys.    She rides a vintage head-nodding beat with the precision of a vet.  She goes the freestyle route on “Parents” but you couldn’t tell because she does an exceptional job speaking on parents not understanding rap dreams along with the uncertainty that brings to one’s psyche.  Her most recent aural combination is “Hip Hop (Freestyle)” which showcases her lyrical nimbleness and emphasizes the need to strike while the iron is hot.

Despite being a rookie, Keys Era has more polish than any other new rapper that I’ve heard in recent memory.  Possibly ever.  She has a gift inasmuch as her modus operandi makes you forget that she’s not a veteran and you're not listening to a 90’s rap classic.  She transcends time in that respect.  Any time you’re a new jack can not only bucks current trends but also bring a listener back to the essence of a better era in hip hop and do so with the confidence of a seasoned pro, you put yourself a cut above your peers which has the potential to win fans and respect.  I have utmost confidence that Keys Era has the potential for a long and fruitful career if she continues on her trajectory.

Speaking of which, the fact that she’s showing this much poise and promise so early should be both frightening for other new rappers and intriguing for hip hop heads.  Enjoy the four loosies she’s provided so far.  Get excited for her forthcoming EP “11” which stands for her path number and angel numbers.  Keep an eye out for future WTM articles on her including video premiers, reviews, and hopefully an interview with the young spitter.  She’s creepin’ on a come up, and remember you heard it here first.  Until then, I leave you with words from a new contender in the game and the wise beyond her years Keys Era herself as she said “Spread positivity, angel numbers got me here and our one true creator, always follow your intuition.”  

Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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