Known for her sultry, yet gritty sound, Ken carved out her own lane of pussy rap and wants everyone to know exactly who she is on What’s My Name.
Ken’s wit, coupled with her provocative lyrics could be easily equated to new-age Foxy Brown. Brown, a fellow pussy rap icon of the 90s, embodied a sexual prowess, which is reimagined in the burgeoning Houston artist. She’s part of a renaissance in the music industry for women in rap, with eyes on Space City as it continues to be the place where this narrative plays out, up close and personal, with chart-busting acts like Megan Thee Stallion, and Lizzo.
KenTheMan is yet another incredible female rapper to champion.
She calls Nicki Minaj one of her major influences. "Nicki showed so much versatility it was almost like she opened up a different category of making rap. She set that tone, that hip hop doesn’t have to be theoretical. You can wear pink wigs with it," a bubbly Ken tells Houstonia via Zoom.
She made a lasting impression on the music industry with her bass-heavy debut mixtape entitled, 4 Da 304s, which was a fun and flirty project conceived “strictly for the ladies.” Her provocative breakout single, “He Be Like,” where she lyrically reminisces on a sexual encounter, garnered over 10 million streams across platforms, and propelled her music career, along with cosigns from rappers such as Snoop Dogg and Cardi B.
Before all that, KenTheMan was born Kentavia Miller and raised on the northside of Houston. She always had a passion for music. She began rapping eight years ago in college but didn’t fully see the vision of pursuing her artistry full-time. Even two years ago her rap dream hadn’t become a reality, because she was Uber-ing and DoorDash-ing to make ends meet.
After a few viral freestyles, Ken built a loyal following and even vyed for a spot on XXL’s 2020 Freshman Class roster for her blossoming talent. This led to some well-deserved attention and offers from the likes of Atlanta-based label Quality Control Music coming to her door. But she turned them down and remains fully independent.
She reminds us, though, that taking the hands-on approach to her music comes with its own struggles. On her opening track “Love Yourself,” Ken details her journey through the music industry, where she talks about the difficulty of being a rising artist out of Houston, saying that she comes from a place "you don’t make it unless you leave there."
Despite her slow roll to success, Ken garnered an organic fanbase by sharing her musical journey with fans on social media. It was the perfect platform to showcase her effervescent personality that’s helped fans embrace their own confidence through her explicit lyrics.
Although she earned her respect for her sexy and braggadocious raps, Ken expands on that with What’s My Name. Complete with 10-tracks, the EP channels themes of pimp culture on cuts like "Damn Shame" and "My Bad," where she embraces her masculinity and turns into a smooth, yet aggressive lyricist.
"What’s My Name [is] nothing like 4 Da 304s. It’s a little more arrogant and lyrical," she says. "I’ve got songs like ‘Rose Gold Stripper Pole’ and ‘Onnat,’ that have a different feel."
Ken shines through the upbeat project, a production pivot from her earlier efforts. Now, she reveals an edgier version of herself, because of the slower, softer sound she’s left behind. Her music still puts listeners in a hypnotic trance as she confidently floats on beats.
On her meteoric rise, Ken has also managed to capture the hearts of her hometown, having worked with Propain, Slim Thug, and OMB Bloodbath. "We’re a pretty behind city and it’s not a lot of cosigning. Honestly and truly, I think it’s true for everybody, it’s the hardest to break out of your hometown."
What’s My Name was months in the making for the Houston emcee, and she’s excited to share her new work with the world and hopes it offers a glimpse into why she calls herself "the man."
"Giving myself the name KenTheMan really happened by accident," Ken explains with a laugh. "But after a while, it started sticking with me because I give people the idea of a man一I have very dominant bars and a very demanding demeanor. It really fits me."
Listen to What’s My Name on streaming platforms now.