featured REVIEW


Verbal Kent & Kaze One Brave New Rap Gravel Hiphop • 2009

After meeting in 2001 at an MC battle, Chicagoans Verbal Kent, master of ceremonies, and Kaz One, beat creator, have been on a mission. 'The rapper should make me wanna make a beat so hard it could knock a man down', Kaz 1 said to Verbal Kent and that was that. The rapper interpreted it as an invitation, the producer jumped on the train. Since Verbal’s first solo record 'What Box', both have been making music together. And so 'Brave New Rap' had to have Kaz One behind the boards. Only Kaz One.

Both musicians’ aim is to bring realness to your iPod, stereo or Volkswagen, 'dedicated to the people who still love rap'. Energetic beats and energetic lyrics that’ll 'keep ya blood pumpin up' are the main ingredients of this effort. After being thoroughly introduced to the album’s objective in 'Dedicated', 'Wars R Us' hits hard with a massive drumbeat and hungry lyricis. 'Think about me and a flesh wound creates itself' sounds a bit far-fetched, but punch lines like 'study show, I spook tracks, my rappin is fear, do you homework, practice at home, rap in the mir'' or 'this is what the fuzz is about, you can download this, but you can’t download a gun to your mouth' would come in handy at any MC battle.

'Remove The Gag' continues on the same wack MC-bashing path and finds rap’s Aldous Huxley alongside La Coka Nostra leader Ill Bill and word magician Wordsworth over a menacing organ. The smooth, mellow piano-tinged 'Questions' stands still on how rap would be if only skills would matter while Verbal Kent battle-raps himself to 'the core of the craft'. 'Slice through the propaganda that conditions you', it goes in the agile drum-layered 'Identity Theft', a political statement, while 'Faith' has Braille tag-teaming along, with both rappers promising to never ever weaken and stay loyal to true hip-hop. 'Rap is my drug, I use it constantly'.

Just as the roman 'Brave New World' this album has a utopian side to it. It contains great hip-hop with a optimistic vision -the authors are predicting a world that is deliberated from unskilful rappers- but it has an ironic edge to it. They still know that the struggle has to continue and that the world -politics- won’t turn for the better of things all of a sudden. Whereas Huxley despised technology, Kent and Kaze despise the fact that rap is being judged on other aspects than skills. They despise bad politics ('they got us terrified of Arab nations, shit, fuck that, I'm more terrified of Sarah Palin'), they despise today's society ('we care less about people we know and more for Angelina and Brad') but at the same time they have bundled that anger and mould it into a great collabo effort, that leaves behind a sparkle of hope.

POSTED ON 03|30|2009 by cpf

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