It was the beginning of the bustling lunch hour in the food court when I spotted him. Cool as could be, Kevin M. Graves (they call him K.G.) sat eating a tray of nachos.
“I’m into creative expression,” he told me, “I draw and make music.”
It all started when he was a kid. His cousin was a rapper and his uncle a popular harmonica player. “I wanted to prove I could do it too.” And he did.
With a growing love for music, he gave up his high school prom and graduation gifts for equipment to create his own recording studio. “My parents had me pick one and I picked the music… I started with a small speaker set, computer, and a $100 microphone.”
From there he began experimenting with beats and picked up a job at Beggar’s Pizza in Chicago to save up enough money to upgrade his equipment. Today his apartment is a music studio that boasts a $1000 microphone and $750 high definition speakers allowing him to create more content than ever before.
J Cole, Lupe Fiasco, and Trina are just a few of the artists he’s given samples to. “It was always a right place right time kind of situation,” he explained.
Although he loves music, K.G. is a physics major. For him problem solving is fun. “It alters your thinking…you can pull from knowledge and translate it into art. It makes you question what your limits are.”
His unique way of seeing the world shapes his work. “I want my art to say something…to make political statements about deep moralistic codes, right vs. wrong, racism, the government vs. the people.”
Beyond his art, K.G.’s self-expression extends into his style through his dreadlocks. “People judge you from the way you look…my hair is a Fuck you to judgement. I like to prove people wrong…I don’t feel the box, the standards, they have.”
“Ten years from now I see myself educating, doing art, living a productive life…Songs are pieces of you [and] I just want my content to be good.”