The New York-based alternative rapper I.K.P. is back with his latest solo project, “11:11” – and he has a story to tell.
Pronounced “Eleven Eleven”, the project will feature 16 tracks by the Infamous King of Positivity (better known as I.K.P.). The four 1s in the title refers to the fact that it is his fourth solo album, as well as that it was released on April 1st (which was also his birthday). The album is produced by I.K.P. himself and released by Reigning Positivity, LLC.
A Personal Story
For the artist, 11:11 is a chance to tell his personal story to his audience. In the past, I.K.P. has suffered from sexual assault, PTSD, homelessness, and toxic relationships. The unresolved conflicts drove him towards drug abuse and self-harm, and ultimately on a downward spiral of depression. It took him a long time to rise from this pit of despair. 11:11 is a product of this healing process and a testament to his long journey.
But it is not the first time I.K.P is telling a personal story through his music. He released his EP “Radicalize” last year, with 5 tracks. There, too, the artist talked about the mental health issues he faced and how he struggled to overcome these hurdles.
I.K.P. is an army veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps before being honorably discharged. Since then, he turned towards his musical side and unleashed the rapper inside him. So far, he has released four solo albums and two mixtapes, including “Ignoring The Know Protocol” and “Executive Realness”. He has also worked on two projects with the music group The AlliYance. For their EP “Introducing… The AlliYance”, the group earned a Best Urban EP nomination at the 2016 Annual Independent Music Awards. In January 2020, I.K.P. and EarthTone launched the podcast The Herbal Tea Podcast. The podcast sheds light on the LGBT+ music artists as well as talks about issues around the LGBT+ community.
Voice For A Cause
I.K.P. has always believed that he should be raising his voice and using his influence for issues – especially the ones that personally affect him. He has been an outspoken supporter of the Black and LGBT+ community. As a queer Black man himself, I.K.P. hopes that sharing his experience might help similar folks know that they are not alone. He wants to create music that helps people heal, especially the Black and LGBT+ people. While the artist himself has not completed his healing process, he wants to support others on their own journeys. Apart from this, I.K.P.’s music also talks about the everyday struggle of his urban audience – from the most mundane hurdles to life-changing moments.
Hip Hop and Queer Identity
For the longest time, the rap industry ignored and even actively suppressed queer voices in music. Alternative rap was born in the 80s to move away from gangsta rap and other stereotypes that many rappers, particularly the queer ones, didn’t identify with. However, it wasn’t until the 2010s that queer Black rappers started gaining the spotlight. In 2015, rapper Tim’m West talked about how masculine Black LGBT rappers like him and I.K.P. are not given support by even the white LGBT community. However, I.K.P. has been challenging the norms throughout his career.
Interviewing Paperboy Love Prince
I.K.P. was also in the news recently for inviting Paperboy Love Prince (they/them/God/Goddess) on his podcast, The Herbal Tea Podcast. It was a part of the Herbal Tea Lounge, a special segment of the podcast dedicated to full-length interviews with important influencers in the queer community. Artist and activist Paperboy Love Prince made headlines when they announced their intention to run as a mayoral candidate for New York City. If elected, they would make history as the youngest mayor in the history of New York City. The interview focused on Paperboy Love Prince’s personal life, their motivation for running for the mayor, and what changes they would bring if elected.
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