I had never heard of K-Os before, but hearing about his daring yet clearly Hip-Hop oriented meshing of genres and his conscious style, I decided to check him out. I don’t know if K plays his own guitar, but I would assume so, and he definitely sings as well; very versatile, very talented.
1) Emcee Murdah
The track begins with Os commenting on the state of the industry and rap music, then becomes a simplistic but organic-sounding cut, a regretful guitar over violins while K-Os spits a nice verse, not very flow-heavy but really quality lyricism. The sung hook is a nice touch, with improvised rapid riffs. (Great)
Os brings a more reggaeish feel to this one, though still throwing in riffs here and there. He sings the whole track, the gist of which is “I don’t wanna change the world, I just wanna stop descending.” Later goes into a guitar solo. (Good)
3) Man I Used to Be
Back to more Hip-Hoppins, this is a more aggressive beat with heavier drums, sounds very rock-influenced. Has a compelling sung hook, but the meat of the song is some great lyrics (this time with better flow as well). Ends in a nice guitar/singing improv and a little freestyle. (Excellent)
A Southern-feeling record, very bass-heavy with some hard kicks, feeling bouncy. Os half-sings/raps the lines, still good. Goes into a sax solo in the middle of the song, after which he launches into another verse. A really jazz-flavored track lit with a catchy hook. (Excellent)
5) B-Boy Stance
Taking it back to the old-school late 80’s style, this was the song’s single. It’s a great breakbeat-style track, with K spitting on people biting when they should be paying dues to the early greats. (Excellent)
As evidenced by the song’s intro, this is a latin-flavored track with Spanish guitars and rapid drums creating most of the background. K-Os goes right into spitting real lyrics. Relieved at points by a Mariachi-style sung-hook, the verses get more and more fevered. (Excellent)
7) The Love Song
The second single from the album, a euphoric violin/piano combination beat has K-Os spitting/singing nicely about love of music. (Excellent)
With a fair bit of Southern R&B influence, this record is one of spiritual devotion. K-Os strums the guitar and sings with an organ and violin softly playing in the background, giving the impression of a life performance. (Great)
9) Clap Ur Handz
Back to the rap style, a simplistic yet catchy early (early) 90’s beat with a short verse like a live freestyle. (Good)
10) Dirty Water ft. Sam Roberts
A very euphoric, 60’s-sounding record, with Roberts singing a Beatles-style hook and Os rhyming in a very meter-oriented way. He and Roberts then proceed to sing out a happy chorus. (Great)
11) One Hood (Jissy Homicide)
Very simplistic, the first verse seemingly a freestyle over a riffing guitar. A very organic record, not the most hardcore rap but his verses are pretty good and the chorus is nice as well. (Good)
12) Papercutz ft. Kamau
Starts off as another Spanish-styled cut, this one with Latin horns with the guitar. Kamau spits the verses, nice lines with a nice flow, while K-Os sings yet another nice hook. It’s a full 15 minutes long, dominated in the middle by lounge jazz-style piano/bass solos with some scratching in the background. There are a few minutes of silence, followed by the album’s outro, the digitally-altered voice of K-Os addressing the listeners, and a final, expectedly nice verse from K-Os. (Excellent)
My Rating: 5/5 (Classic)
I’m not afraid to rate this a classic album, but it’s not for everybody. This is classic in the sense that, it perfectly accomplishes what it set out to do, mesh genres of music around a central base of Hip-Hop. All in all it’s some great music, but don’t run out expecting traditional rap records like Ready 2 Die, for example. Get this if you like to hear boundaries crossed.
My Recommendation: Buy the shit! If you like experimentation (The Roots, Mos Def) as well as some good positive music, this is MOST DEFINITELY your type of thing.