Jose Toro
Staff Writer

According to the Billboard charts, over a third of music streams in the U.S. were R&B and Hip Hop/Rap in 2020. It is safe to say that artists from these music genres influence the way we live our lives; we try to imitate their speaking style, we try to dress as identical to them, and we buy their limited edition sneakers. As we decide which artist ranks the best amongst the greats, we tend to forget to appreciate the greatness and impact that many of them have left in our lives and in society.

Millions know the greatness of rapper, poet, and positive icon Kendrick Lamar, most famously known for making music based on the racial difficulties that he has faced with being a successful Black man in the music industry. From his unique album production to his creative lyricism, Lamar also proves that he can be impactful outside his music.

As a Black man in the U.S., Lamar supported the Black Lives Matter movement by protesting inside Compton with NBA star Demar DeRozan. Along with this, many BLM protests have chanted the song “Alright” from Kendrick Lamar ever since the track was released in 2015. With this being his most controversial song due to its lyrics about police brutality, he did receive criticism from Fox News; however, Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics show that he is an activist for the men and women that he represents. The lyrics from “Alright” say it all. Poetic wisdom through the track is seen as a form of optimism in tough times for minorities. Words along with actions like this humanize influencers and we, the consumers, love it; it reminds us that specific celebrities think, feel, and act the same way we live our daily lives.

His glory days of being an influential rapper and icon may never come to a halt, but it seems like the man who claims himself as “Compton’s sacrifice” is now lighting the fuse on other rappers who may very well be in the same position of success as him in the upcoming years. When you promote someone who has the same passion as you,  you risk your reputation as an artist. Pressure increases tremendously when you get recognition from someone like Kendrick Lamar, the most political rapper of this generation. 

Meet Baby Keem, Lamar’s cousin. Born as Hykeem Carter, Baby Keem is an uprising rapper, raised in the city of Carson but having grown up in Las Vegas. According to The Focus, “He started his music career as a teenager and later released his EP Hearts And Darts in August 2018. Two months later, the young rapper released his album, “The Sound Of Bad Habit.” Born on Oct. 22, 2000, Baby Keem has released two solo albums, independently produced and published. For someone who is related to an icon, Hykeem held the identity of this underground rapper who had no identity. This all changed soon as people figured out that Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar are cousins.

On Aug. 27, 2021, Baby Keem put his name on the minds of all rap enthusiasts with the single, “Family Ties,” featuring none other than Kendrick Lamar. With four years of silence, it must have been planned that Lamar’s first feature in years would be on a track with his younger cousin. 

Baby Keem then released his first studio album, The Melodic Blue, weeks later on Sept. 10, 2021; the album would contain yet another Lamar feature on the track, “Range Brothers.” 

The main reason why many music enthusiasts need to care about Baby Keem’s success is because no one understands the true potential he has when one of the greatest rappers alive is mentoring him. Many might criticize his rise to fame based on family ties with Kendrick Lamar; however, this may just create “bigger shoes to fill” for Hykeem Carter. 

Does Baby Keem have what it takes to live up to the music brought by the L.A. greats before him? Is he the Kendrick Lamar for the future generation? Or will he create a new style of hip hop/rap? There is only one way to find out. Listen to his music and see the growth of Hykeem Carter as a rapper and influencer.

Featured Photo Courtesy of Glen Luchford/i-D


In collaboration by Quaker Campus staff members.
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