On a cold snowy day at a downtown Chicago hospital, K’Valentine made her entrance into this world. She served as an early Christmas gift for her mother. The news of her birth also excited her father, Valentine Ogilvie Reid, who at the time, was incarcerated in another state. At an early age, in spite of many family hardships, K’Valentine excelled academically and in the Arts. Anything associated with creativity was and still is her forte.
As a little girl, K’s exceptional artistic ability was so evident that it’s no surprise that music became her life’s passion. When she discovered the power of hip hop, it became her first love. She dove in head first and learned everything she could about the art form. Soon enough, she was impressing friends and family with her vast knowledge about the world of hip hop.
K’Valentine began her lyrical journey by writing poetry to get out emotions she wanted to express. After a chance meeting with world renowned poet laureate Dr. Maya Angelou before she passed, K’Valentine was encouraged to practice until she mastered her craft. On the advice of Dr. Angelou, K wrote poetry non-stop, and those poems eventually transitioned into songs.
After reciting poetry at numerous spoken word events and receiving positive feedback, it was time for K to finally get in the booth. Shortly after, she released her debut project, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” 2011. Breakfast at Tiffany’s gave listeners their first look into K’Valentine’s heart. She wrote about personal subjects but she also wasn’t scared to get down and dirty on the microphone. On Valentine’s Day 2013, K’Valentine dropped her second mixtape, K’Valentine’s Day, which picked up where Breakfast at Tiffany’s left off.
In 2014, K’Valentine linked up with Javotti Media, a label owned by hip hop star Talib Kweli, and began to work on her third mixtape, Million Dollar Baby. Million Dollar Baby finds K’Valentine rhyming over tracks that are new as well as her versions of existing hits, giving the listener a well rounded perspective of a young lady that can lyrically spar with the best of them. Million Dollar Baby puts on for the city of Chicago by featuring great Chicago artists like Bubble Eye, Vic Spencer and Mikkey Halsted, but it’s undoubtedly K’Valentine’s showcase. You can also find K’Valentine’s contributions to the world of music on Javotti Media’s mixtape, The Cathedral, which placed K in the company of esteemed artists such as Big K.R.I.T. Joell Ortiz, Curren$y, NIKO IS and more.
K’Valentine’s love for music has given her a calling, and she is here to answer that calling. The music she makes is not just wonderful for the listener, but has also been her therapy to get through life’s trying times. As beautiful as she is talented, her experience is valuable and her voice is needed. Experience K’Valentine and enjoy!
Rhymes: 2Pac, “Keep Ya Head Up,” Lauryn Hill, “Tell Him,” Eminem, “Lose Yourself,” and Drake, “Make Me Proud”
Undeniably one of hip hop’s most prominently rising stars, JonConnor was recently handpicked by the legendary Dr. Dre to sign to his Aftermath record label after years of independently releasing a series of acclaimed mixtapes and underground projects. The self-appointed “People’s Rapper” from Flint, Michigan was also featured in the 2013BETHipHopAwards cypher as well as on XXL’s2014Freshmen cover.
Prior to signing with Aftermath, Jon Connor worked with some of hip hop’s greatest luminaries, including Royce Da 5’9, Freddie Gibbs, Talib Kweli, Danny Brown, Jarren Benton, Rittz, Chris Webby, Hopsin, Slum Village, Statik Selektah, DJ Kay Slay, DJ Drama, and more. Propelled by noteworthy career milestones such his guerilla-style takeover of SXSW, scene-stealing freestyles/interviews on Hot 97, Shade 45, and BET’s ‘106 & Park,’ and making his Billboard chart debut with his independently-released Unconscious State album, Connor has earned public praise from industry veterans and superstars like Nas, Busta Rhymes, Rick Ross, and Big Sean. And through his working relationship with Dr. Dre and the legendary inner circle of Aftermath, the list of his collaborations and accomplishments is on the verge of exploding in size and scope.
With an absolutely ferocious live show and his debut Aftermath/Interscope album on the way, the world at large will soon see what the die-hards have known all along – Jon Connor is a musical force to be reckoned with.
Rhymes: Souls of Mischief “93 ’til Infinity,” Keith Murray “The Most Beautifulest Thing in the World,” and Pharcyde “Runnin'”
Poet, playwright, and actor Kristiana Colón earned a BA at the University of Chicago and an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her poems explore romantic and personal transformation, often making use of unconventional punctuation and capitalization. The author of the chapbookpieces of shedu (2008), Colón has also performed on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Her honors include a Pushcart Prize nomination, and her work has been included in Dzanc Books’ Best of the Web 2010 and the anthologies Not a Muse: The Inner Lives of Women, a World Poetry Anthology (2009) and Chorus: A Literary (Re)Mixtape (2012).
Colón has taught at Chicago State University, Malcolm X College, and Tribeca Flashpoint Academy. Assistant editor for the online literary journal Muzzle and artistic associate for the theater company Teatro Luna, she lives in Chicago.
Rhymes: Nina Simone, “Blue Prelude,” Bone Thugs-n-Harmony ft. 2Pac, “Thug Luv,” and Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment, “Sunday Candy”
GLENN E. MARTIN is the founder and president of JustLeadershipUSA, an organization that aims to cut the U.S. correctional population in half by 2030 by elevating and amplifying the voice of people most impacted by crime and incarceration, and positioning them as informed, empowered reform partners. Mr. Martin is co-founder of the Education Inside Out Coalition (EIO Coalition) and the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy. He is a 2011–2012 America’s Leaders of Change National Urban Fellow and a member of the Boards of The College and Community Fellowship and Prisoners Legal Services. He currently serves on a number of boards, and has often served as a re-entry and criminal justice policy reform expert on MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, and local media outlets.
Rhymes: Notorious B.I.G. “Gimme The Loot,” Nas ft. Lauryn Hill “If I Ruled the Word (Imagine That),” and Jadakiss ft. Anthony Hamilton “Why?”