Klevah serves ninja-style rhymes, enforcing femme emcees on the map

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Erykah Badu has a line, “I’m cleva when I bust a rhyme. I’m cleva - always on your mind.” That quote (and vibe) describes exactly the effect Klevah’s music has on a listener. The deep tone of her voice mixed over smooth beats is a remedy for anyone that’s looking to expand their palate. A Champaign, IL native—she’s putting female voices on the map. Klevah is also a part of the duo, Mother Nature, featuring her counterpart, TRUTH. According to her Soundcloud, “Klevah embodies her ninja persona, taking the listener by surprise with razor-sharp delivery and mind-defying lyrics placing her in a class all her own.” Her work is available mostly on Soundcloud. — Ari Attack, Abstract Music Editor

1. What is your earliest memory of listening to or making music? How has that memory influenced how you create music today?

Thinking back, my earliest memories listening to music involve Da Brat Funkdafied, Dre Nuthin But A G Thang, Snoop Gin & Juice—thanks to youthful parents. I have very fond memories of my pops freestyling, mashing genres and bumpin real golden era HipHop. My ear particularly tuned to weirder voices like Erykah Badu, A Tribe Called Quest, and Public Enemy. My pops started recording me rapping as early as 3 years old.


2. What role do you feel your music has played in society this far? What about the future?

The role that my music has played thus far would be that of the Warrior. HipHop allows me to express my strength and evolution in life. True lyrical swordsmanship, knowledge, infinite feminine power, and community. Moving forward, I def feel the energy of the Healer. I currently use HipHop as a means of grounding my energy and communicating my highest thoughts. I invite others to share this spiritual space and diffuse their pain. This is most evident in the unfolding of Mother Nature.


3. Where is music headed?

Crazy question. I think it's becoming more subjected to tech, for sure. Like music changes according to how people receive and perceive content and the need to be consistently stimulated on higher levels. In the end, the real will always prevail.


4. How do you feel algorithms change how people listen to music and consume media?

They're effective by driving people with similar profiles to your content. I've def come across some great artists/music through targeted advertising or whatever it's called. My phone knows what to spit back at me. But on the artist side of things, it can be a puzzle. It's the online exposure that isn't totally in your control and can create barriers between you and fresh audiences.


5. Who is a living artist that we should know about and why?

A living artist we should all know about and why - hmmm. I have a fewww but I would have to give this one to my collective's producer, Rokmore. Not even to be biased, but he's the closest thing I will ever have to a J Dilla. I met him through TheGr8Thinkaz wayyy before I was on the team, circa 2010. Growing with him in my own music has been transformative and I truly believe he can make anything, Quality. His expertise is rare and hidden and he's worth Gold! Check out some of his work on his Soundcloud.

Check out more of Klevah’s work at soundcloud.com/klevah and klevahninja.bandcamp.com. Follow at @klevahknox

Two songs from Klevah’s playlist that aren’t on Spotify, but are necessary listening:
Kendrick Lamar’s The Heart Pt. 2
J Cole’s Grown Simba


Ariana Beedie (Ari Attack) is a freelance journalist, audio producer, community leader and facilitator. She created a publication called Face A Face, focusing on promoting marginalized voices in her community. She has contributed to projects for AFROPUNK, Sidepiece Magazine and WFYI. Find her online at @ariattack on Instagram and @ariattack_ on Twitter.