Yesterday, Bronx MC Kemba announced his new album Negus, and premiered its first single “The New Black Theory”. Inspired by Pharell’s infamously nearsighted “new black” declaration, the song is a blistering indictment of the upper crust who created and sustain today’s systemic oppression. Fittingly, after referencing the coiner of the “new Black” phrase, Kemba decided to use the hamhanded movement’s matriarch (fall back Stacey Dash), Raven Symone, as artwork for the single.
Over thick drums and piercing keys, Kemba notes, “I could walk outside now and get shot down if you ever wonder why I’m hostile,” vocalizing a thought many minorities are too exasperated (or scared) to convey.
“Pharrell’s comments weren’t a new idea, he (and Black Twitter) just gave it a name,” Kemba said over e-mail. “It’s the same line of thinking that makes code-switching such a prominent method of survival for people of color.”
Kemba’s previous work as YC The Cynic broached substantive topics in flashes, but this is possibly his “heaviest” song to date. Kemba says that he waited until after his name change to release the track “because I didn’t think YC The Cynic was mature enough. I don’t think the person I was a few years ago would’ve been ready for what we’re about to do, and the backlash we’ll likely get.”
Kemba says the track—and the rest of Negus—is a culmination of an entirely new creative process. “Frank Drake and I were in the studio together, weekends at a time. He was making the beats while I workshopped melodies and flows.“
Negus will be available digitally on July 22. You can listen to “The New Black Theory” below.