This morning, Chicago-based emcee KC Ortiz announced a new EP called The Campground along with a one-off single called “Brenda Jenkins” which is now streaming. Like everything Ortiz has released to date, there’s a certain confidence to the tune, which also carries over to the forthcoming release’s eight bass-heavy tracks.
While it may feel like this confidence comes naturally to the rapper, she shares with us that it occasionally takes some help from the artists she most inspire her to fully get in the right headspace to record a track. With this in mind, Ortiz gave us a taste of what kinds of tracks do the trick.
“These are a few of the songs that are on my mental pep rally playlist,” she shares. “These songs inspire me during tough times and when I’m feeling low in energy. They help get me going. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!”
Stream the full playlist below, and keep an eye out for The Campground, which drops September 16.
Kanye West, “I Wonder”
I feel like I wrote this song myself—all of the words he’s saying is how I have felt. Like, my dreams keeping me up late at night, urging me to keep going when it feels impossible, that intuition that won’t let you quit.
This song always makes me so excited when I hear it. It just makes me so proud of my Southern roots. I feel it’s the closest thing to my aesthetic that I’ve heard. The beat is so amazing. I play it some days imagining being on a huge world tour.
Rich Boy, “Throw Some D’s”
I went to high school with Rich Boy, and this video was shot right by our school. It makes me remind myself that if he did it, so can I. It’s a reminder that goals are in reach—when you see someone achieve it, it lets you see that it can be done.
Tears for Fears, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World”
When I was a kid this song used to always play on the opening of the Dennis Miller show on HBO. I always wondered what it would be like to get out of Alabama and live in the big city. This song just always reminds me of that, and puts me in a nostalgic moment.
Avril Lavigne, “Sk8er Boi”
This song is just my petty motivational song—how the girl thought the skater boy wasn’t cool enough for her, and he went on to do great things as she sat in the crowd and watched.
Queen, “Radio Gaga”
One day I was in a bar and I saw a video of Queen performing this song in Africa, the crowd was so huge. It just really inspired me—every time i hear this song I just daydream of performing for crowds like that.
Big Sean, “Paradise”
The words to this song are my motto. Seeing this life in your mind that you always knew you wanted and were meant to have. I heard it once in a friend’s apartment and it’s been a fight song for me since.
The Carters, “Apeshit”
JAY-Z and Beyoncé are some of my biggest idols. I love this song so much—it just makes me feel so hype. Beyoncé always presents so much swag, and when I play this song I feel it in my bones.
Lionel Richie, “All Night Long”
I heard Pastor John Jenkins say in one of his sermons, “If you can get through this hard time, God is gonna give you happiness and you will be dancing all night long.” Then he started to sing this song and the whole congregation started to sing along. So since then, I use this song as motivation to keep pushing through the hard times.
Eminem, “Rap God”
I think Eminem is such a lyrical genius, and his flow changes so much on this song. It’s like rap boot camp. It makes me so excited listening to it. And the title of the song alone is motivation.
Calvin Harris, “Summer”
I have this pic of Calvin Harris saved in my phone where he’s playing to this huge arena. It’s for motivation. I am a fan of his work and I want to work with him. When I hear this song it just makes me think of summer time with friends—certain songs shape your summer and it’s just really inspiring to me. I can just feel the street festivals when I hear this song.