On Cee Kay’s buzz single “Pressure” (featuring YoungBoy Never Broke Again), he paints a picture of what it’s like to walk a mile in his shoes. “I be thinkin’ evil, walkin’ with the Devil,” he rhymes on the infectious cut. “Know what’s up with me, yeah lil’ bitch it’s whatever.” Within days of the video touching YouTube it surpassed over half a million views and still counting, a testament to the early power young Cee Kay holds when he delivers his vividly honest rhymes.
The Pine Bluff, Arkansas native has witnessed a lot in his 20 years on the planet. Much of it isn’t pretty. But as Cee Kay continues to build his buzz and become a force within rap, he maintains a credo of remaining true to himself and the code of the streets.
Pine Bluff, Arkansas sits within the Heartland of America, yet is riddled with violence. Gang wars checker every neighborhood, an environment that Cee Kay witnessed since birth. “Life in Pine Bluff is crazy,” Cee Kay expresses. “You don’t wanna come visit.” Drugs, murders, and poverty were an unfortunate trifecta that infiltrated his neighborhood, as he lost friends to violence along the way. Criminal activity led to jail time. “I went to jail at 17, and I didn’t like that shit,” Cee Kay admits. The rapper soon realized there had to be a better way. He found solace in his rhymes, which ultimately saved his life.
It was an early fascination, as Cee Kay began rapping at just nine years old. “My auntie used to hear me freestylin’” he recalls with a laugh. By 13, he was writing his rhymes down and recording tracks, inspired by artists like 50 Cent who spoke with both bluntness and boldness. He aligned with his cousins who were local rappers, eventually taking his talents to his own YouTube channel, which proved fortuitous in the long run. Track after track, Cee Kay began building his buzz, working the internet and dropping loosie tracks with videos to match. He soon reached the eyes and ears of Hikari Ultra Co-CEOs Mel Carter and P, known recently for breaking acts like Rock/Rap duo City Morgue.
“I found Cee Kay on YouTube,” says Carter. “I liked his voice and how he rhymed, so I kept looking. Then I saw him on another dude’s song and he killed it so much that he bodied the whole song and took it right from the artist. That’s when I realized I had to fuck with this kid.”
Cee Kay was flown to New York City where he rhymed in person for the label. He inked a deal with Hikari Ultra and Republic Records. That stage is now set for his upcoming mixtape, where Cee Kay plans to deliver on the same vibe he brought to “Pressure” and his other street singles, only elevated.
“I write from what I see,” Cee Kay explains of his art. “My songs come from my feelings and even the hardest shit is still from the heart.” Vivid at times, with biting wit and brutal honesty, Cee Kay isn’t here to pretend that life is easy. He’s here to give the true story of what his life is like for the past two decades. “Everything I do, I want people to fuck with it,” he explains. “This is my story.”