By Kischa Pena
Just two years ago Christian Hip Hop Artist Ken Ken was on the sidelines with a knee injury that would change the game. He had been playing basketball since the age of 5. Through hard work and support from his mother, Brenda Turner, he made it to the college level attending Southern Nazarene University. From there he transferred to West Texas A&M. Basketball was going to be his ticket to the next level. Or, so he thought. Ken Ken would soon find out that God hears our prayers and, in this case, answers swiftly.
“I remember praying to God and saying, ‘Lord, if you can bless me with another gift where I can bring glory to your name…’”
After humbling himself before God, that very next day, Ken Ken picked up a pen and began to write rhymes. At the age of 21, putting behind him the only gift he knew, God suddenly gave him a vision and a new purpose. Ken Ken has been going non-stop ever since.
“In order for a dream to be a reality, it has to be lived.” ~ Calvin Clark
Fast-forward two years later. Ken Ken has now dropped three mixtapes: Illuminated 1, Illuminated 2, and Higher Learning. While he likes to listen to gospel artists such as Lecrae, Deitrick Haddon, and Mary Mary, his own style and music can be attributed to more of the secular industry. Many have criticized him for using sample beats from old school legends like Lenny Williams and the Isley Brothers, but especially the new school club sensations that many young people listen to today such as Drake, Lil Wayne, and Whiz Khalifa. Ken Ken takes it all in stride, although he addresses the opinionated ones on a track called “Conscience” on the Illuminated 2 mixtape. He is very clear on the vision that God has placed in his heart and his lyrics prove that he is serious about getting his message across.
“God told me, ‘I want you to take the [secular] beats that people listen to and flip the message. How many of the youth do you know that run to get a Yolanda Adams or Kirk Franklin CD? Sometimes you have to reach them by what they know.”
Now, the 23-year-old Christian rapper from Denton, Texas has been spreading the gospel, conducting interviews, and performing at churches and events in surrounding areas. He was recently blessed with the opportunity to perform among worship singers at Friendship Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee and also attend the Stellar Awards, which aired on January 19th.
He walked among some of the top names in the gospel industry, including celebrities such as Marvin Sapp, Tamela Mann, Kirk Franklin, Kurt Carr, and more. Taking it all in, Ken Ken gained knowledge and insight that I’m sure will carry him and his gift very far in life.
“If God has a calling on your life and told you to do things a certain way, do it. Don’t listen to the critics. Don’t listen to the hate. Continue to do it. Also, create a balance between ministry and family. You’ve got to have that balance.”
Ken Ken is learning and adjusting well to the life of an independent artist. He balances time between family, ministry, and volunteering, just recently mentoring youth at the Mavericks Boys and Girls Club. Through it all he has stayed true to what God has called him to do. Just two years later, he is set to drop his debut album My Dream Is My Reality on February 6, 2013. Our youth need more positive influences and alternatives to what is offered in the world. Show your support for a young man growing in his gift and having the courage to do what “thus saith the Lord,” when so many struggle to take action.
“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” - 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
Official Website – www.kenkengoodmusik.com, Twitter – @KENKEN_GIFTED,
Facebook Artist Page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ken-Kens-Artist-Page/192051010839819?ref=ts&fref=ts,
Music Page – www.Reverbnation.com/kenkengifted
B.L.O.G. Magazine Co-Editor & Contributing Writer
Kischa has a passion for positive expression through writing and music. She studied Business Management through the University of Phoenix at Axia College. She is an active member of United Voices of Efland, a non-profit organization in her hometown of Efland, North Carolina and a Greensboro TraCS Community Advisory Board Member. Her most important role is being a single mother to her 8-year-old son. Although Kischa has been living with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma for the past eight years of her life, she doesn’t let that stop her desire to help others in need. Actually, it has ignited a fire within. She is currently starting an ongoing clothing drive for families in need, as well as beginning her own non-profit to promote reading and writing proficiency amongst teens.