Fresh off the release of his brand new EP, AEMMP hip-hop artist and producer King Art is back with a full-length project entitled "King Art & Friends," and a friendly affair it is indeed.
At 13 tracks and 45 minutes in length, "King Art & Friends" serves as a continuation of what made the first EP such a great listen. Between the gritty, lo-fi trap production and hard-edged lyrical performances, "King Art & Friends" possesses an alarming sense of immediacy that culminates into a vibrant and exciting listen.
The EP starts out with "Kamehameha," which is the perfect tone-setter for the rest of the LP. The trap percussion is bouncy and full of life, and the guitars are dark and menacing. Excelle, Shellz and Allen Wilder all make appearances on this track, coming with one grimy verse after another.
Another highlight in the first half of the LP is the third track, "Piccolo." The bass on this track is jarring and the piano loop adds a bleak aesthetic. Excelle, Musa Reems, and Vinas all flex their technical prowess on here, showcasing a diverse palette of lyrical topics, flows, and deliveries.
Perhaps the biggest highlight on the LP's 2nd half is the closing number, "Story For The Ages." The instrumental is one of the best on the entire project, as King Art makes use of bluesy guitars, plinking pianos and a lively set of strings. Xzyle and Vinas absolutely murder this beat, closing out the record on a staggeringly high note.
Though "King Art & Friends" has an aesthetic that is mostly grimy and lo-fi sounding, that doesn't mean King Art doesn't display diversity and color within those sounds.
Track 7, "Westside Story," features a particularly beautiful instrumental. The guitar loop is lush and beautiful, and the percussion is steady in pace. It's a lot less in your face than most of the other tracks here. The vocal performance from Excelle is also worthy of note, as he croons out a heartfelt reflection about growing up on Chicago's west side.
The following track, "Primadonna," follows in a similar laidback vein, taking shape as a carefree party track. Vinas finds himself in a sketchy situation here involving a girl and an excessive amount of alcohol, implying these two things might be a bad combination for him. his vocals are warm and tranquil, fitting perfectly with the instrumental.
There are standout vocal performances on here as well.
Tomas and Morgan Gold team up for a ballad duet on "Teach Ya," which deals with trust and communication issues in a fading relationship. Tomas and Gold play off each other really well on this song, doing a brilliant job of telling both sides of the story.
Coming right after this song is "Allen's Interlude." Going over one of the more aggressive instrumentals on the entire project, Allen Wilder goes in, spitting every bar as if it's his last. It's one of the more passionate moments on the entire album, as his flow and delivery are alive with color and personality.
Much like the EP that preceded it, there isn't anything overly conceptual with "King Art & Friends." There is no overarching theme of a big idea that the listener is supposed to take away from listening to this album.
However, given the consistency of the gritty, lo-fi sound and fiery vocal performances from everyone involved, King Art and his partners in crime have come together with a project that is not only a solid, cohesive listen, but an album that possesses a stunning sense of immediacy as well.
And on top of all of that, it is also a VERY fun listen.
Listen to "King Art & Friends" on Soundcloud by clicking on the link here:https://soundcloud.com/aemmp_records/sets/king-art-friends
Filed under: Album Reviews