His tracks are musical, his rap melodic and his lyrics profound. And the clincher: His live performance is an absolute revelation. Backed by a full indie-band that could carry a show on its own merits, every Kenan Bell set is a veritable clinic in controlled chaos, anchored by Bell’s fluid poise and charisma. At 6’ 5”, he is indeed an imposing figure, but he is as easy and languid as his delivery. And like his cousin, The Mailman, he always delivers.
As a teacher at a Montessori school in Los Angeles, Bell has been educating people for years. Now, armed with a refreshing message of optimism and unity, Bell is ready to proliferate his unique hip-hop perspective: one that lays the intrepid lyrical flow of Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, and De La Soul over the rich textures of The Smiths, TV On the Radio, and David Bowie. A fan of music first and foremost, Bell is well-versed on the subject of hip-hop and its origins: 'Rap is a fatherless music. So, there are no guidelines or blueprints to follow. ’Hip-hop’ is a term developed by Bambaataa, who sampled Kraftwerk, a German techno outfit. So who’s to say what is and isn’t hip-hop? Chic was sampled in ‘Rapper’s Delight.’ Nile Rogers went on to produce Madonna.'
His mother 1/4 Irish, his father 1/4 Arapaho Native American, growing up in an LA suburb, and heavy in on the California skate scene (where he met best friend and collaborator Jason Burkhart, whom he affectionately refers to as ‘Milk’), Bell has always been one to judge people based purely on their merits. “In that [skate] culture, if you can skate, you’re in,” Bell says. Similarly, having grown up in a time when music was becoming less and less segmented, he learned to love it and learn from it all. He is truly a product of his time – and his writing process is all the proof one needs. This wordsmith crafts his verses on his trusty Sidekick, and emails them to himself. Bell says of his method, 'I treat this like personal counseling. I’m writing to myself in rhyme.' Credits:
Performed by Kenan Bell
Written by Kenan Bell, Jonathan Siebels, Jason Burkhart
Courtesy of +1 Records
Published by Extra Fresh Publishing (ASCAP) / Milkman Music (ASCAP) / Less Than Zero Music (BMI)