I’m Roy Kinsey. Born in Chicago in the fall of 1985. I’ve always been fond of expressing myself through writing. I got that from my parents. My very intelligent and musical parents. Natural performers. My mother and grandmother used to write the lyrics to Whitney Houston’s first album to learn the lyrics. I think that showed me the importance of words. I’m a Lyricist. I’ve recently decided to put everything I have into my craft. A small refuge made me realize that I want to dedicate my life to music.
My very first concert was in 6th grade. I went to the Chicago Theater with my younger brother to see Faith Evans, Case, Total, and Dru Hill. My first Hip Hop concert though, was on the Roc the Mic Tour with Jay-Z. Just being at these shows, seeing the crowd respond to the performers, and watching how they created those moments on stage that I would remember forever, I knew, right then, that it was something I wanted to do with my life, and with my music.
When I was in High School at Lane Tech on Chicago’s North Side, my homies and I formulated a crew. Adding my younger brother, who went to a different High School, we began rapping in my parent’s basement. It seemed like we were together everyday, all summer, in the basement, sneaking bottles in, and rapping and recording until we had enough tracks to make an album. It was the only album we ever made together, but one of the most fun times I have ever had with music.
Music became serious for me during my sophomore year of college while enrolled at DePaul University. I met a young producer by the name of Doc ILL who became not only a friend, but the producer who helped to shape my sound and help me find my voice as a rapper. My time listening to Hip Hop was during the Golden Era, and my style was shaped by artists like Jay-Z, Eminem, DMX and the Ruff Ryders, Nas, Lil Kim, Foxy Brown, Ja Rule, and 50, to name a few. When we started making music he listened to Typical Cats, MF Doom, Immortal Technique, Aesop Rock, Sage Francis, and Vakill. Being exposed to something as familiar as Rap, but as unfamiliar as Underground Hip Hop was wild, and challenging to me at first. I had only put emotions into poetry, but not too much my raps. The beats he would end up making for me were so soulful. I had to be truthful on these beats and speak from my soul because it’s what the beat called for. It would sound crazy of me to rap one way when the beat clearly called for something else. He was my first real producer, and really gave me confidence to be who I was, while helping me find my voice. Just acknowledging that there are different rappers out there gave me the confidence to do my thing. The only rule was I had to be dope.
Leave it to DJ Castle to teach me about timing. I met DJ Castle in a film class we had together in undergrad, and found out he was a DJ spinning at a bar not far from campus. I found out that he was getting into producing and even did some rapping himself. My first video is to a song we did together from my first album called RIDE. He executive produced both of my albums and has been the one to push me to practice and get better. He knew I had talent, but he taught me skills. Rapping to an instrumental and rapping with a DJ are completely different things and I learned that working with him. I changed my name from RoyAL to Roy Kinsey in 2010 when DJ Castle told me it sounded cooler. He was the first one to pay me for doing a rap show. He made me a professional.
I’ve performed solo, and with a band of 10. From the hole in the wall bars and open mics, to parks and places holding 500+ people. The Shrine, Hard Rock Cafe, Abbey Pub, Wildhare, Lasalle Power Company, the Logan Square Auditorium and Subterranean are all venues I was lucky enough to rock. I’ve opened for Keith Murray, Big Sean, and Twista. I’ve been featured on Vocalo, WBEZ and DePaul Radio and in the Chicago Reader. My song “Let Me Down” was featured in the Chicago RedEye, and my song “Watch It” was featured for the “Download or Delete,” segment on WGCI with 91 percent of the voters choosing to Download. I’ve released two albums by the names of Keep The Receipt (2010), and Rookie Of the Year (R.O.Y) (2012) and am finishing my latest album, Beautiful Only, to be released June 2013.
I’ve found the beauty in the small parts that make up the whole. Those small parts have made me the MC. My being an MC has made me whole. Those small parts are the passion, talent, and the wit. The lyrics, the vision and perspective, matched with my timing, charismatic stage presence, and flow are what makes me an MC. The discipline and the care I take. In life and in music. I’m Roy Kinsey.