Signing Story: Ken the Man

Date Signed: July 2023

Label: Roc Nation

Type of Music: Rap, Hip-Hop

Management: Melissa Keklak, MK Entertainment,

Booking: Melissa Keklak, MK Entertainment

Legal: Adam Zia, The Zia Firm, 610-466-8003

Publicity: Sasha Brookner, [email protected]

Web: Twitter and

A&R: Earl Johnson


ouston rapper KenTheMan kicked off her career nine years ago, and for the first four she handled her own affairs. That was until the many songs she’d recorded and uploaded paid off and manager Melissa Keklak discovered her on Instagram. Keklak’s nimble navigation of the industry’s often turbulent waters ultimately landed the artist a deal with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Over the span of her career, KenTheMan has earned more than 50 million streams, 20 million just for her 2022 single “Not My N*gga.”

“Melissa found and flew me out to show me how she moves and stuff,” KenTheMan recalls of her initial connection with Keklak. “It was a free shot; she wasn’t charging me. She just wanted to show me what she’s about. Eventually she connected me with Roc Nation and I came to meet with them in L.A. A little later there was a bigger meeting in New York, so that I could get acquainted with the rest of the team. My lawyer came along and he’d never done that before, which made me wonder if they knew something that I didn’t. That’s when I realized that it was serious, but it also gave me more confidence. Their deal was sent about a week later.”

But Roc Nation wasn’t the first label to talk business. There’d been others in the past, but none of them felt right to the burgeoning artist. “I was nervous when I found out they were interested, because I felt so good there,” she observes. “I’d been offered bad deals before. But Roc Nation made me a good one. It wasn’t just what they wanted. They also allowed me to have what I wanted. Things like the fairness, the creativity, deadlines and project amount. There weren’t any fights. If a label won’t compromise at the beginning, you can imagine how your career is going to go.”

KenTheMan's latest single "I Love a Freak" was released on July 14 and her EP Back to 304’n dropped on July 28. A 13-stop tour launched in September and will hit a number of cities, including Chicago, Detroit and Charlotte, North Carolina, all new towns for her. A full-length record may follow in the future.