Posts Tagged ‘New York Hip Hop’

“Cold loaded, waiting for a reason/praise me when I’m dead, make bread while I’m breathin’/Can’t take it when I’m leaving/Judge me too quick, mistake me as a heathen/cause I had tools moved weight it was thievin’/when I was broke out the gate, I was grievin’/had a cold heart cause my apartment was freezin'”

– Ka, “Cold Facts”

It seems like every few years you come across a New York rap album that avoids the impulse to sound remotely modern, and yet somehow manages to navigate the pitfalls of the misguided intentionality of “nostalgia rap” (see Termanology, Celph Titled, and numerous releases after about ’03 or ’04 from washed up NYC golden age rappers).  In 11 brief tracks, Grief Pedigree manages to cement itself into an elite group of 4 or 5 rap albums from the last half a decade that manage to remove modernity from the auditory equation, without sacrificing the authenticity of the listening experience.  It’s a very rare group of records indeed that can make you feel like you’ve stepped into 1995 musically, without asking you to reminisce or revisit – they just take you there.

It would be a total anomaly for an emcee with Ka’s aptitude for DIY artistry and 92-98 grimy New York authenticity to appear out of nowhere and Ka is not unlike NYOIL (UMC’s), MF DOOM (KMD), and Roc Marciano (Flipmode and The UN), hailing himself from the 90’s group Natural Elements.  Like the other emcees on shortlist, Ka has a unique skill set on the microphone and shows a dedication to his craft both on the mic and on the boards that is seldom exhibited in the quality of the artistic output among modern rappers.  For example, the rhyme schemes and vocal cadences are so thoroughly structured that at times the committment to the practice feels equal parts eccentric and devout.  Religious and spiritually inspired imagery and advice litters the album without coming across as overbearing or preachy, much in the way that 5%er linguistics and lessons were woven through the fabric of Wu-Tang albums for years.

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