Kahiem Rivera | The Family Interviews


Meet Kahiem Rivera

This Brooklyn-born rapper is a man of many words. So much so, that he released he released his breakout release, Be Quiet, in multiple parts. MULTIPLE!

With his introspective lyrics and hushed, hazy beats, Kahiem Rivera relates feelings of melancholy and anger with a buoyant sensibility. It’s a marvel. It’s a beaut. It’s more than worth the click to listen. 

Below, we get a glimpse into the insightful rapper’s world. Rivera reveals his number one place of inspiration, the frustration of numbers, and reminds us to reduce, reuse & recycle.

You heard the man. Flip that switch, bb.  


Self-Portrait by, Kahiem Rivera


Would You Rather…

be trapped in a closet for one night with a swan or a scorpion?

This is actually a crazy relevant question. I’m a scorpio, and have met so many amazing scorpios this year (we get a bad rep so the solidarity has been tight), so kicking it with a scorpion is definitely something that needs to happen. But I also bonded heavily with a family of swans in Northern Michigan last summer (long story), and just got a giant swan tattooed on my whole back. So, I’m gonna have to go with the swan. Swans will fuck you up, but we get along. I’m a swan whisperer.


Some Questions with Kahiem Rivera

What motivates you to keep making music? 

At this point, collaboration. I know so many talented and inspiring people and I wanna make songs with all of them. Also, just hearing the amount of innovative music being made by young people right now... When a song really blows my mind I think “Damn, I gotta go get in the studio right now.”


Where is the most random place you’ve been hit by lyrics you needed to write down?

Always on my bike. Riding around the city, you see so much. I’m always freestyling to myself while I ride and some of my favorite songs started with me pulling over to jot down what I was just rapping.


What is one thing you would want to change about the music industry?

I hate the numbers game. I feel like there used to be some magic in discovering an unknown band or someone that barely had a following, but was really really good. And now if you don’t have these huge stream counts, or views, or whatever, it’s somehow invalidating. I’ve caught myself deciding not to check out a band because their numbers were low and they didn’t seem “legit”. I have to kind of snap myself out of that thinking, especially because these numbers are always in flux, especially when you’re just starting out.


If you had the power to turn into one other person whenever you wanted who would it be? What would you do?

Captain fucking Planet. And I would slap all these motherfuckers until they start turning off the lights and recycling.


Who was the first audience that you ever played? How did it go?

First time I ever rapped for people was at a café in Fort Green when I was 15 or 16 years old. I wrote a corny ass song about “dharma”, which is a rap song that never ever needed to exist. It went well though, and people were super supportive. 

If you could pick one book/movie to be a real story that actually happened in the world which would you pick?

The Sandman series, by Neil Gaiman. I’m tryna meet the Lord of Dreams.


What is your favorite song that you have ever written?

Oof, that’s tough. All of the songs that I’ve made with Vesa Beats this year are really special. They hit in a different way than the rest of my stuff, especially live. And he brings out a playfulness that I have trouble accessing over my own production. The song we’re about to drop, “Booty Calls”, is a song I never could have written three years ago. It’s catchy and it’s a bop and it’s always the one people ask me about after a show. So yeah, maybe that’s the fav.

Pete Davidson once said, “If you're 25 and under I truly believe that Kid Cudi saved your life,” do you have an artist who saved you?

As a teenager, it was Atmosphere, three thousand percent. Slug really paved the way for emo rap. Kendrick’s up there too, but he’s pretty much my age, so it was less of a paternal thing and more of a “oh i resonate with this shit hard, and he’s blowing up, so I must not be the only one.”

What is the most comfortable pair of shoes you own?

Huaraches, by a mile. Those shits bounce.


If you could live in any era of time when/where would it be? What would you do?

Going back in time is not really a good idea for black people, haha. But I guess I could fuck with Egypt in its prime. 

Which artist uses the best samples

I mean the obvious answer has always been Kanye, but Jpegmafia has been blowing my mind recently, so let’s not give Mr. MAGA any shine right now.

Any final comments? (This is your electronic soapbox for one last answer.)


Sean Maldjian