Local rapper and community activist, Devine Carama, performed and gave an insightful interview about Lexington’s hip hop community on WRFL Live, on Wednesday, May 9th.
Listen to the full interview with Devine Carama and DJ Cameron Childress here:
Devine Carama’s style is rhythmic and articulate with a steady tempo. His lyrics utilize plenty of imagery and often deal with politics and religion. He describes his music as poetry and his passion shines through in his performance. He is influenced by artists who are socially conscious. He says that Public Enemy, Nas, Common, The Roots and OutKast all inspired him.
Growing up, Carama says he was bullied. Hip hop became a place for him to deal with his problems.
“I never really had an outlet or a voice so I think what turned me to the music was just needing an outlet just to deal with what I was going through,” said Carama.
He says his mom stressed the importance of education to him at a young age.
“I think my mom just wanted me to express myself,” said Carama. “And also being an African-American kid in Lexington Kentucky where we only make up ten or eleven percent of the population, she didn’t want my voice to feel like it was suppressed. So she always challenged me to speak.”
Writing hip hop and poetry is where Devine Carama found his voice. As someone who describes himself as awkward, he says that being a good rapper allowed him to fit in and boost his confidence.
Devine Carama shared ways that people in Lexington can get involved in the hip hop culture. He says the Facebook groups, Lexington Hip Hop and Lexington Hip Hop Culture, are places where artists, producers, videographers, designers and venues share what they’re working on. He also mentioned The Album, a record store beside campus, as a place that sells local music and supports the community. Carama says that Al’s Bar, the Burl and Cosmic Charlie’s all feature local hip hop artists.
Devine Carama believes hip hop serves to represent the community and be a voice for the voiceless.
“You had mainstream media, other musical genres that weren’t reporting on things that were going on in poor, brown and black neighborhoods,” said Carama. “So then spawns hip hop. Because hip hop became that voice of rage, that voice of awareness.”
Devine Carama is highly aware of today’s issues. He believes that drugs, violence and education are the biggest problems in Lexington.
“I think the educational system is broken,” said Carama. “Being somebody who does motivational youth speaking, it’s eye opening to go to different schools and see the difference in quality.”
Devine Carama believes that the popularity of hip hop can help address societal issues. He says that hip hop superstars like Drake or Beyoncé could use their popularity to make a difference.
“Imagine if they just said ‘I’m gonna drop an entire album focused on issues that are plaguing underserved communities,‘” said Carama. “[Drake] could easily do that, not lose any popularity and he could make the hugest impact. That’s the only way. We’ve got to use the individual popularity and the popularity of the culture at large.”
Devine Carama does a lot to better the community. He is the director of Believing in Forever Inc., a volunteer organization that aims to inspire youth through art, education, mentoring and community service. This is only one of many ways he uses his popularity and artistry to make a difference.
“I always tell people don’t volunteer or give to our organization blindly,” said Carama. “Look and see if it’s something that interests you, if this is something you want to be involved in. See what we’re doing first.” He also encourages people to look up Partners for Youth, a hub that can connect people with other youth community programs.
Devine Carama’s upcoming album “Kingtucky Volume 2,” is in the works. You can find his music on iTunes, Spotify and Bandcamp and follow him on social media.