Kenny M. Alvarez or I.K.P. (The Infamous King of Positivity) is a Brooklyn, New York-born, Norfolk, Virginia-raised rapper-producer. Born to Honduran-born parents, his moniker represents a commitment to creating art with a focus on self-empowerment and compassion for communities affected by HIV and AIDS. I.K.P. honed his performance and recording skills during his five-year service in the United States Marines Corps. After being discharged honorably, I.K.P. attended Full Sail University, in Winter Park, Florida graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Music Business.
In 2011, I.K.P. released his debut independent album, Ignoring the Known Protocol. The introductory single and video, “Let It B. Known” set the tone for themes on acceptance and equality, which continue to persist in his output. The single was nominated at the OutMusic Awards, a non-profit organization offering a platform for recognizing LGBT artists and culture. The video for the single “Hunt Me Down”, was a stylish, conceptual piece that was recognized as “Best Video So Far” at the 2014 RightOutTV Awards, another LGBT community honor. I.K.P. followed up with his first mixtape, I.K.P. 4 President Part 1: E Pluribus Unum, then his second independent project, Executive Realness, in November 2013, producing the singles “Super-Trippy”, with its artful, neon-colored visual; the title track, with a sophisticated and sleek music video, and finally, “No Mention”, whose concept addressed the contentious relationship between Blacks and police.
In Positivity We Trust, is I.K.P.’s third independent album, released in November 2015 and he continued using visuals as a tool to tell the album’s story. First was “You Know The Drill”, a video about self-discovery with elements of gender fluidity; “Klaptrapperz (Self-Made)”, a video that placed women of different backgrounds as protagonists – 17,000 views in 1 month on Facebook; and “Till the Day I Die”, which explored mental health and its battles. The following year saw the completion of a string of collaborative projects as part of the quartet, The AlliYance, a collective of LGBT hip-hop artists with the mission of establishing solidarity and artistic advancement. Work with The AlliYance on their debut album Introducing… The AlliYance, earned a nomination at the 15th Annual Independent Music Awards in 2016 for Best Urban EP. The year also saw a slew of performances throughout New York City with The AlliYance and various other independent hip-hop artists at venues such as The Well, Harlem Pride, Brooklyn Pride, Desmond’s Tavern, and Queer Abstract at the Starr Bar.
I.K.P. has founded Reigning Positivity Music, and is currently working on his next EP, entitled First Swing, with Ivan Corpening, a producer-engineer who’s credits include work on platinum-selling and Grammy-nominated SZA’s album Ctrl. A single from the EP, “DONT PLAE”, showcases a brand new element of self-righteousness, this time encouraging everyone on the dance floor to get in on the action, as the house-inspired trap-lite bass swings with bombastic energy.
These days, you won’t need to search long for artists breaking boundaries on gender norms or sexual fluidity in many other genres. I.K.P. brings the ability to bridge the gap between hip-hop’s nature for storytelling of disenfranchised people with the humanity in alternative lifestyles.
How do I fit in the current landscape?
I take cues from artists of different hip-hop eras, from pioneers like KRS-One and MC Lyte to golden age greats like Nas and Ice Cube, to southern superstars like Missy Elliott, OutKast and T.I., to new-age leaders like Kendrick Lamar. Right now, I stand out simply because of the perspective I come from which, does not exist right now on mainstream radio. But I’m a blend of artists like everyone I mentioned, plus contemporary artists like J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Kanye West, Tyler, the Creator, Logic, Pusha-T, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, ASAP Rocky and many others.
Why is there a market ready for me?
You have artists that have penetrated pop culture to an extent by championing sexual freedom, feminism and queerness already such as Big Freedia, Troye Sivan, Young M.A, Jussie Smollett, and Mykki Blanco, who all have platforms to a certain extent and achieved a certain level of success being openly queer. This proves there’s already a demand for artists viewed as having alternative lifestyles. I see myself as able to be included in the greater conversation among all the aforementioned talent. My aim is to elevate people’s perceptions by providing another perspective as an openly queer artist while positioning our issues and our perspectives right alongside what you get in mainstream today. I’d like for my company, Reigning Positivity Music, to be able to stand alongside the respected institutions of LGBT media today, helping to keep pushing our voices forward.