KenTheMan’s 2022 XXL Freshman Freestyle
KenTheMan is a self-proclaimed "rap best friend." She makes the kind of confidence-boosting music that puts bad days on ice. Reclaiming the superpower within seems a lot more attainable with her assured rhymes as the soundtrack. The Houston rapper, who earned a rightful place on the 2022 XXL Freshman cover this year, brings those emboldened bars to her Freshman freestyle.
The 28-year-old hip-hop maven assesses what’s out there and clearly sees no competition when delivering her brief onslaught. Plus, packing in an amusing punchline with clever wordplay is typical for KenTheMan. "OK, I'm back in this bitch, and bitches actin' like they ain't hearin' me/Every time I'm out I gotta walk with my security/I’m a walkin' million, I ain't gotta wear no jewelry/And yeah, they been droppin', but I'm bored like a charcuterie," she rhymes.
Her hands talk just as much as the words she's spitting. It's all part of Ken's cocktail: a mix of attitude, allure and ardor. In this freestyle, she's feeling the heat on her rise to the top. "Man, my work been sellin', heard you hoes still in the trap," Ken delivers. "And I’m next to blow, like fire at a Texaco/Bitches say it smoke, but when they see me, it's that Reginald/Haters don't hate until you get put on a pedestal/And stop hangin' with my opps, bitch/Go be more original/Fuck they talkin' ’bout."
Nearly 10 years ago, people had just begun talking about the playful MC, born Kentavia Miller. In 2013, she started dropping freestyles over buzzworthy beats via social media. Rhyming on popular tracks from respected rappers earned her enough of a solid reception to give her the energy to move forward. By 2015, she released Kenny’s Back, her first mixtape full of freestyles on Drake and Future’s "Jumpman," and G Herbo’s "Chiraq," among others. Sharp songwriting, racy lyrics and a southern-dipped delivery permeated her bars. Living up to her moniker, she was known for going harder than dudes.
"I have very, very confident music and I feel like what makes me different is not only my sound, but my journey and how I got here," she tells XXL during the Freshman shoot this past May. "I feel like that is what sets me apart. I'm very diverse. There's so many sides to me that nobody's ever even seen and y'all be seeing it [soon]."
By 2017, her track "Deserve" introduced her to a larger audience. Then "He Be Like" took her to a new level. The 2019 breakthrough effort, which finds her boasting about being a man’s favorite recipe, started gaining further traction through social media two years later. "He Be Like" reached the top 15 of the Billboard Top Triller U.S. chart the summer of 2021.
Her projects 4 Da 304's in 2020, and What’s My Name last year further added to her acclaim. "Rose Gold Stripper Pole," from the latter EP, even cemented a 2 Chainz remix. Cosigns from Tity Boi and Snoop Dogg were also in her court. Asylum Records took notice of Ken's momentum on her own and inked a partnership deal with her in 2021. This first-half of 2022 has also been busy for the Down South lyricist. She unleashed the two-pack of tracks "Feelin’ Sexy" and "Join Em." In June, shortly before the Freshman cover reveal, she released her provocative new single, "No Panties On." Now, the rap game's new "it" girl is currently working on her debut album.
"I will be working on my album and I don't wanna do a traditional album," Ken shares. "That's what I've been battling with. Do I wanna make it not traditional in the sense of like, someone else, but you know, traditional is like, it's a certain vibe you feel when you hear somebody album, it's so serious. Oh, this is like, I didn't want the real seriousness in my album. I wanted it to still be fun and confident. So yeah, I'm working on that and I haven't solidified a title yet. I plan for it to drop not end of summer, but like right in the midst of summer. I got some singles coming out on that ass."
Prepare for the takeover.
Experience KenTheMan’s talent in her 2022 XXL Freshman freestyle, powered by Puma, below.
Read the 2022 XXL Freshman cover story featuring BabyTron, Cochise, Saucy Santana, Babyface Ray, KenTheMan, SoFaygo, Big Scarr, Big30, KayCyy, Doechii, Kali and Nardo Wick when the Freshman issue hits newsstands everywhere on July 13. The issue includes additional interviews with Lupe Fiasco, Kevin Gates, Pi’erre Bourne, NLE Choppa, Yvngxchris, producer DJ Dahi, engineer Teezio and singer Chlöe, plus a breakdown of every Freshman Class from a numbers standpoint, a look back at what the 2021 XXL Freshman Class is doing, the story of why the 2016 XXL Freshman Class gets so much respect now, a deep dive into the world of NFTs through hip-hop’s lens and exploring rappers’ most valuable collections. You can also buy the 2022 XXL Freshman Class issue here.