Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Kahiem Rivera manages to weave a cynical, world-weary perspective into hip-hop songs about love, sex, race and disappointment. The Earth is in rough shape, and so is he. After getting his start in alt-rap bands “The Universe Project” and “KoBu”, Kahiem began recording solo music following a near-death bicycle accident in the Fall of 2016. What he describes as “It could have been worse” still meant 5 months of largely immobile recovery, and a lot of free time. It also meant a resurgence of some old, cyclical depression.
The blues are a nice fit though, even if they flow through the lens of a 26 year old Brooklyn emcee. “I make ‘em dance and depressed at the same time” is an oddly poignant mission statement in 2018. There is a whole lot to be sad about, but there’s also music. And as much as Kahiem Rivera would love to drink a beer and talk your ear off about how awful it all is, he’d rather rap.
It’s not all gloom though. If you were willing to return the favor, Kahiem would tell you that he loved you, and he would mean it. He even has a song about f***ing. It was spurred by a very symbolic dream involving paper cranes, but it’s about f***ing nonetheless. And who doesn’t like f***ing?
Recently Kahiem opened for Astronautalis and SHREDDERS. And his last residency night at C’mon Everybody is on March 27th.
“I fell into a long depression last winter, during a leg injury from getting hit by a car. Once I was semi-healthy again, I started going out a lot to this one bar to get out of that rut,” says Kahiem. “Just being there almost every night, till 4am, binge drinking with a lot of people who didn’t seem to have a care in the world. It almost felt like the club in San Junipero, from Black Mirror. So the song is balancing the feeling of having genuine fun but also an existential “wtf am I doing?””