Release Date: Nov 4, 2008
Record label: Mush
'Life is what you make it, you idiot,' counsels this burly US rapper. And with most of its 14 tracks coming in under 180 seconds, his pithy second album administers a series of life-giving shocks to the ailing form of leftfield hip hop. No skits, no instrumentals, just heartfelt lyrics delivered at speed. .
K-the-I??? comes across immediately in exactly the way intended and befitting of his musical persona – confrontational, rendered with loving detail and, above all, literate. Of course, it’d be demented to single out literacy as a defining trait, but the succinct deliveries fly by in such a manner that it’s difficult to describe it any other way. The opening gunshot buzz of '400 On The BPM' reigns over a very fierce party.
Album covers can do more for an artist than one might think. The artwork can draw in a listener who is simply skimming through disc after disc at a music store. It can also indicate what kind of music might be pressed onto the CD. For K-the-I???’s Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow, the latter scenario rings true.
While K-the-I???'s prior record Broken Love Letter, was a clutter of convoluted poetry aimed at Kiki's significant other turned ex, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow continues to be an introspective affair, as his abstract rhymes switch from the topics of love and loss to futurism and technology. Entirely produced by Thavius Beck -- the man behind the curtain on tracks by Trent Reznor, Nas, and Saul Williams -- the industrial sonics are fitting for the underlying theme. Soft synths and drum loops are stretched and pitched with computer plug-ins to the point of stuttering, while the burly bearded rapper shows off his Cambridge credentials by spitting high-brow vocabulary at a mile-a-minute rate, creating run-on lyrics that could be interpreted as insightful if they weren't so terribly cryptic.
Occasionally sounding like Vast Aire's little brother with Bigg Jus aspirations, this immense man spills his solemn life lessons while treading the literal lyric territory that Vast owns so effortlessly. APC's High Priest appears as the intellectual icing on the cake. Plus, Busdriver never fails to impress with his articulate lyrical assault, and Thavius Beck's rap inspires vertigo of the best kind.
Hard-hitting, no nonsense, straight to the point hip-hop albums are a dying breed. It’s rare to find anything that doesn’t require at least an hour of your time. And although that may be OK sometimes, it’s always a treat to find a breath of fresh air. There is nothing compromised on K-The-I???‘s latest hard-hitting effort, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow.