July 1, 2014


Kyle Ellison asks you to take off that necklace Nice N Smooth

Ka has been spoiling us lately and he knows it. Having dropped back-to-back masterpieces in 2012 and 2013, the Brownsville lyricist looked up and saw that he had disciples – and what fun is having disciples if you can’t make them work a little? Long gone are the days of a video per song; his latest EP 1200 B.C. was released quietly this month – a 21st century loyalty test that boils down to whether or not you Like Ka’s Facebook page. The release is available through his website on CD only; there is no digital option, no advance audio and no tracklist. At this point, if you need any columns other than ‘Artist’ filled in iTunes then you haven’t been paying attention.

In lieu of any music to play you, here are the cold facts. 1200 B.C. is five songs, one of which is an intro skit and another a two-minute snippet featuring fellow Metal Clergyman Roc Marciano. Ka sticks firmly to pen and paper this time, with beats handled by Preservation. Yes, there are drums, and no, he hasn’t gone EDM. Ka’s music still sounds like the dead of night – suggestions of piano or guitar melodies map the streets, as strings quiver in the back for fear of what’s around the corner.

At less than 15 minutes, 1200 B.C. is being referred to as an appetizer before the meal, but its content weighs no less heavy on the stomach. ‘Still Heir’ is characteristically vivid, finding Ka peeling an eviction notice from the door of his roach-filled apartment, while the weary ‘Years’ opens with the couplet: “No safe place to lay your head / eating mutton, teeth cutting through day-old bread.” As ever, both his stories and delivery are completely without glamour, making Roc Marci’s cameo on ‘Fall of the Bronze’ all the more ridiculous – a cartoon pimp rapping about getting pampered in Tampa as he smokes blunts laced with angel dust.

Despite this brief escape into lavish fantasy, Ka pulls you back in quickly. Forget Florida, he rarely takes his eyes off the New York pavement. “Thought drug trafficking was our Road to Riches,” he raps on ‘To Hull and Back’ – dreams presented in past tense, wisdom buried under the cleverness of his wordplay. This EP may be an appetizer, but it wouldn’t be Ka if you’re not still be picking it apart when he serves up the next course.

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