Following her summer banger “Fallout,” Portland-based, Chicago-born Portland-based rapper Karma Rivera returns with a bold new offering: the single “Can’t Trust”

Karma Rivera is a young rapper from Chicago who has already established herself both on and off the Portland scene. Let’s go through her compelling story, from her origins to her most recent single “Can’t Trust.”

Karma started rapping in 2010 while attending college, but she started taking music seriously only after a couple of years. It was back in 2016 when she packed out a Portland bar for a casual pop-up performance.

Since then, Rivera has continued to garner attention number after number. Her songs are a reflection of her reality, moved and amplified by funny and melodic beats, clever and edgy lyricism, and by her riotous stage persona.

Rivera has established herself as one of the rising stars of the Portland hip-hop scene, releasing a string of singles and live performances filled with a different kind of energy, which pushes and amplifies the movement, the message, and the delivery even more.

Of course, when you think of hip-hop and rap hotbeds, you probably think of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or Atlanta. Certainly not Portland, where the black community, and consequently hip-hop culture, is less present. If the community of people is missing, its culture is missing too.

So you could say Portland can’t produce rap music on the same scale as those hip-hop capitals simply because there the black hip-hop and rap community is so much smaller. And the community is small due to the lack of affordable housing in the city and other racial economic disparities.

At the same time, Portland is becoming something of a city of newcomers. People who move to a new home want to maintain a cultural link with their connotative roots. Nowadays, which music represents this cultural experience better than hip-hop and rap?

Karma Rivera
Karma Rivera

Here Karma fits in. Her previous song, “Fallout,” was released in August, in the middle of a summer that will linger in memory for protests and blockades. Being a musician trying to break through the scene during all these social tensions and difficult moments seems to have given her further determination.

Rethinking live performances, music production, and the rigmarole an artist has to handle to emerge forced her to adapt. Facing all this, many would have thrown in the towel. Instead, she has chosen to go on.

Just to recap, we have a woman who lives in a city where the black community is “overshadowed” and who, in the uncertainty of the moment due to COVID-19, engages in making historically male music in a society still marked by misogyny. How many would immediately say, “No, thanks, that’s not for me.”

Emotionally triggered by the turmoil and visceral conflict that comes with all this, she embraced this moment. So, following her summer banger “Fallout,” Rivera is back with a bold new offering: the single “Can’t Trust.”

Released on October 2, 2020, Rivera’s latest work is a number full of the rawness and vulnerability of this Zeitgeist. But these rough feelings are her caress that compliments her confidence and pride in being herself and offering those bars.

Sharp and punchy, Rivera raps about not trusting people, incorporating a clever pun that offers plenty of alternative and witty insights. But it is under a braggart mask that we find the determination and feelings of an artist focused on his work. She is not willing to negotiate on her goals and values. And if not everyone is happy to see her personal growth and development, she’s not altering her vision. Rather, she’s not trusting anyone.

A positive expression of that progressive social and cultural wave that is developing from the mire of disparities and pandemic, Karma’s is music that is already going far beyond Portland’s borders. Assuming there is a limit for her reach, she seems to be the only one who can determine how far she can go.

Listen now to “Can’t Trust,” the latest single by Karma Rivera, out on October 2 on all the major digital platforms. You can find your favorite one via karmarivera.com/cant-trust

To know more about Karma Rivera and her music, find and follow her all over the web by checking the links below:

You can also discover “Can’t Trust” by listening to our playlist NOVA ERA, a weekly rotation featuring an eclectic selection of artists covered by the Nova MUSIC blog.

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