Release Date: Sep 4, 2015
Record label: Dine Alone
Genre(s): Rap, Alternative Rap, Underground Rap
The National Lampoon's Vacation parody on the cover of k-os' 2015 LP is a stumper, but this out-of-time, out-of-place reference is a better fit than the album's title. Can't Fly Without Gravity is a brilliant, heavy phrase that sits on an album that is more lifted and light, so much so that the highlight "Spaceship" joyfully jettisons the lyric "People think I'm crazy for thinking so high" over a beat that's polished pop. The twitchy funkster "Dance in Yo Car" sounds like Prince when he's uptempo and poignant, and somehow, they found a way to jam strings into this wonderful rave-up.
Fans of K-os's famed eclecticism will not be disappointed by Can't Fly Without Gravity, the Toronto hip-hopper's sixth studio album. This new effort has a greater breadth of styles than anything else in his adventurous catalogue. It all kicks off with "Snapback," a jazz-infused slow-burner akin to — and every bit as fun as — his 2002 hit "Heaven Only Knows." Can't Fly also boasts two riff-rife cuts, "Turn Me Loose," and "Steel Sharpens Steel," that rock harder than the entire guitar-centric half of his preceding double-album, BLack on BLonde.But Can't Fly's more experimental, out-there successes pale in comparison to its straightforward rap tracks, which find the Canadian MC in fine lyrical form.
Despite five critically acclaimed albums and stardom in his home country, Canadian rapper, producer, and vocalist k-os remains a niche artist in the United States. His formula-defying sixth record probably won’t provide his breakthrough, but it’s an undeniable creative triumph. He has improved as an MC since his 2002 debut, yet continues to be a better singer and producer of engaging, hooky pop songs.
If we’d forgotten, k-os rabidly reminds us that he’s a stellar rapper. However, his rock star posing and pop hook chasing transform him into a confusing cyborg who trips over his own artistic instincts. WiLD4TheNight (Egoland) exemplifies his penchant for cool flows over synthetic production, before a sung chorus mutes the momentum of an edgy hip-hop cut.