Artist(s): Kembe X
Mixtape: Self Rule Mixtape (2011)
So, we decided to peep out Kembe X's new joint titled SELF RULE for a 2nd Round review. Most times, artists have a hard enough time getting just a few good songs in ONE project; much less a group of successive projects that show TRUE growth. As usual, his ability to create intricate wordplay is probably the most ingenious part of his delivery.
He starts off the project with an inspiring Malcolm X speech for the intro. Their mix and choice of background music was definitely well done. This is actually something that could be said about a lot of the project, overall. The choice in production matched the lyrics extremely well throughout the project.
From "Introlude" with its smooth delivery and laid back production, to "Quarter and a Nightmare" with its odd use of melodies over smooth lines of rhythm; Kembe's ability to weave a story that pulls in the listener is undeniable. Any listener will notice, right away, that not only is Kembe X able to adapt easily to various rhythms; but his choice of production is phenomenal.
Some tracks worth a DEFINITE mention are, "Patience," which helped bring the project back into perspective and made it come alive midway when the track tempos starting blurring together. This track is a definite REPEAT BUTTON CULPRIT! The only thing it could have used was less saturation on the distortion of the vocals of the hook. It was a bit heavy and could have balanced out a bit better to sound less gritty.
Between "Backwards" with its old school "Midnight Marauder's" feel, and smooth bass riffs and woodwinds of "Don't Quit;" it's clear his influences are not just constrained to recent music. Kembe X seems to be rooted in MUCH MORE than today's superficial digi-songs. His music reaches back out to the listener and incites that old warm feel Chi-Town artists are known well for.
While we have a lot of good to say about this project, and the ratings speak the same; there were some slight downsides to the project that could have used some work. "Cold Summer" loses a little momentum, which he makes up with his ability to paint a picture with lyrics. "Don't Quite" could have used a little more work on the bridge and the feature artist, Alex Wiley, could have had better breath control in his delivery.
Despite the very minute flaws on this project; the quality, wordplay, production and overall mix puts Kembe X on a different playing field than many indie artists who are still trying to mature their sound. Peep out the download and HEAR HIP HOP REVIVING FIRST HAND!