Ai-Que the MC (Philadelphia, PA)

Genre: Hip Hop / Soul / Alternative

“…Consider me like a hip hop super hero, here to rescue all of your ears and hearts.” –Ai-Que

Ai-Que (born Kevin Todd Smith II) is a Philadelphian emcee with one mission; to promote unity through the culture we call Hip-Hop. Ai-Que (pronounced I.Q) grew up in a household where music and the arts ruled. The son of two artistically inclined parents, that didn’t necessarily follow their passions; he was encouraged to engage his creativity. As early as 7 years old, he was familiar with all genres of music from, Classical and Classical Jazz, to Blues, R&B, Funk, and of course Hip-Hop. He also played a variety of instruments including the clarinet. In addition to a fascination with music, Ai-Que compiled pages on pages of short stories and poems throughout his entire life.

“I wasn’t a bad kid per se, but I did get into trouble. I used to get put on punishment A LOT, and there would be no T.V., no play time, no Sega. All I had was a radio. Then when I got tired of listening to the radio, I’d write. There was nothing else to do, so I would just write and write and write. No type writer. Just me my loose leaf and my pencils.”

That same love for literature and arts carried him throughout his life as he later continued on to attend Lincoln University, PA in pursuit of an English and History Education degree. While attending Lincoln, Ai-Que worked diligently at becoming a better emcee. After dilly- dallying around with various topics, producers, and even stage names, Ai-Que settled on a persona. Realizing that he drew his influence from the Hip-Hop and Jazz he heard growing up, mixed with his pride in his intellect, Ai-Que, and help from his little brother Tray-Digga, he donned himself as Ai-Que the M.C. As an emcee heavily focused on the cultural and societal unification of the Hip-Hop communities, he takes pride in making music to bridge the gaps. He is set on making music that is “timeless” and he lives by the phrase, “speak life.” Combining his artistic style of wordplay along with his storytelling and general life philosophies, Ai-Que is steadily developing himself into a lyricist and artist set on changing the world. He is also an avid member of the Hip-Hop community in Philadelphia and is on the board of directors for Philly’s longest running Hip-Hop event, The Gathering.