Germany isn’t particularly known for exporting globally renowned rappers, but that’s soon about to change thanks to this rising star. Kelvyn Colt is a German/ Nigerian rapper who’s been making serious waves in the game – waves that have been washing all over American and European shores.
Having been named as one of Vevo’s DSVR one of to watch in 2019, Kelvyn’s rise through the ranks has been as fast as it’s been deserved, with his socially conscious lyrics, impressive freestyle skills and hard beats resonating around the globe. From talking frankly about mental health in a sphere that is traditionally stigmatised, to working tirelessly to create communities free from judgment, Kelvyn Colt is a refreshing answer to the sometimes problematic elements in hip hop. In the midst of a UK tour, sandwiched between a studio trip to LA and a 13 date tour across Europe, we meet with Kelvyn Colt to discuss his movements these past few years.
The first thing I notice as I sit down to talk to Kelvyn Colt are his motives. As he talks me through all the different roads he’s walked, from studying law and business to being scouted on national television for talking out against corrupt politicians, there is one thing that unites all his various doings – he wants to make the world a better place. “I wanted to save the world” he tells me, as he explains his reasoning for originally taking a scholarship to study law, “I wanted to study and focus on contract law and change the relationship between the Western hemisphere and African states… Come up with contracts more transparent and leave less room for corruption”. The same goes for his first break out role on a German musical reality TV show ‘Romeo and Juliet’, which he landed thanks to a 30 second clip on national television where he spoke eloquently on unjust political matters.
Whilst his rap career may at the surface seem in stark contrast to his previous endeavours, underneath lays the same energy that has been motivating Kelvyn – the desire to help people and bring positive change to the world. Listen to his most recent ‘MIND OF COLT PT.1’ EP and it soon becomes apparent how unmistakable this quality is. In his track ‘LOVE & HATE’, Kelvyn delves into the relationship one has with themselves whilst enduring mental health issues, with enlightening bars such as ‘Unless we live, love/ Hate will kill us all’ and ‘Love and hate/ Only one Can take the pain away’ present throughout the song. When performing the track live at his show later that night, he interrupts the excitable crowd to encourage them to look around and embrace each other, reminding them the importance of talking about your troubles and confiding in friends.
This sentiment is perfectly captured by his ‘Triple Black Heart Gang’ movement, which is a movement of kindness and appreciation on a global level. “It’s for people who share a certain set of views of the world – the same set of ethics, things such as not judging one another in respect of how you dress, sexual orientation, what you believe in” Kelvyn explains, “it’s a community of people who come together because of my music, but it’s about them not just my music, my music just happens to be the medium that brings them together”.
I’d have homies who were skaters, homies who were criminals, and homies whose parents are worth 50 million euros.
Kelvyn consistently promotes these ideals, and regularly uses his Instagram to connect fans and ensure those who have no one to attend his shows can meet up with other like minded individuals. It’s an inspiring outlook, so I’m curious where he obtained it from, particularly during times like these; “I guess you’re a product of your environment” Kelvyn starts out, “a lot of times through life I felt like an outsider. I was the only black kid in the school… I went to a private school on a scholarship programme so I was one of the only kids who didn’t come from a wealthy background“. He then goes on to explain how he would constantly find himself between many juxtaposing sets of people, “I’d have homies who were skaters, homies who were criminals, and homies whose parents are worth 50 million euros… I didn’t have one particular circle of friends, so I always had to dive into that role and see what we had in common and how I would get along with them”. From this the importance of seeing the commonality between people rather than their differences became apparent, and this belief remains integral to Kelvyn’s music.
Whilst Kelvyn is proud to rep his German roots, he makes a nod to his decision to move to London as the catalyst to his career. LH914 (also the name of his first EP) was the one way flight number that kickstarted it all – “there’s always been English speaking rappers in Germany” Kelvyn pauses before continuing , “the Germans know I’m one of them, but if I hadn’t have gone to London they wouldn’t have respected me”.
It didn’t take Kelvyn long to start buzzing here, and the initial resistance he faced from the German music industry soon dissipated. “Germans don’t like to be provoked” Kelvyn weighs in, “mainstream media doesn’t give you a platform if you question the status quo… That’s the thing about being ‘cool’, people have this perception that being cool is that you agree with what other people think is being cool. That’s not what being cool is about, it’s about being the first – backing something without the rest of the world backing it”. As one of the first artists on Colours, a Berlin based music platform, and the first to have two Colours, it’s safe to say Kelvyn is now one of the coolest things putting Germany on the map.
German Rap might not have dominated the map beyond its borders, but Kelvyn Colt might just be the artist to change all that. With a strong slate of new music and a 13 strong European tour in the pipeline, it’s going to be hard to avoid the rise of Kelvyn Colt.