|By: Teron Anderson
Mass Communications, University of Florida
Hip-Hop heads all around rejoice.
Boston producer Statik Selektah and the lyrical madman Crooked I have come together to create a dope album for all to enjoy.
Statik KXNG features Statik’s classic boom bap drums and jazzy smooth melodies as the soundscape for KXNG Crooked, who weaves his syllables in and out at will, forming his rhymes intricately like a spider’s web to catch its prey– all of the obnoxious MCs who dare challenge the skills.
Check out the tracklist to Statik KXNG below The album is available February 12. Purchase a copy here.
1. I Hear Voices
Statik KXNG opens up with KXNG Crooked rapping about his struggle and rise to the top over a heavy drum break and soulful piano keys. If it’s not clear why he decided to go by the name of KXNG Crooked, it should be after this track. This song sets a great tone for the rest of the project and embodies the quality of music that you would expect to hear from these two as a duo.
2. Magic & Bird
On this track KXNG Crooked compares himself and Statik Selektah to the legendary duo of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, with Statik playing the role of Bird dishing the assist to Crooked, who obliges by throwing down the slam just like Magic. The production on this track is excellent with a very distinct piano melody.
3. Lost a Fan
I say some real shit because I can/ah ah man I just lost a fan
These are Crooked ’s sentiments towards speaking his mind versus fearing the potential backlash that could strike. This track is full of statements from the Slaughterhouse MC that could be very easily construed as ‘controversial.’ It seems these days artists more than ever want to avoid addressing real issues in fear of being blackballed or losing sales. KXNG Crooked does not have this stance as he raps about social injustice and racism.
Try to fight illegally and we’ll be in a rut/Cause Lady Justice is a whore yeah that bitch a slut/We screaming we need help she don’t hear us out/We pray for some hope it aint no where around/Dr. King talk peace caught a pair of rounds/Molotov cocktail yeah lets tear it down.
4. Everybody Know
This track is a strong transition from the previous song’s gritty, melancholic production and KXNG Crooked’s socially conscious rhymes. “Everybody Know” has more of that classic West coast feel to it and is certainly one for the streets. This track was released about a month ago as one of the singles off of this project.
5. Dead Or In Jail
This tune lauds Crooked’s own ability to beat the odds and make something out of nothing. This track also serves as the debut single off of Statik KXNG.
“I’m killing them because this game keep giving me hell/they only want me selling crack so they can give me a cell/ but I spit crack to let my freedom ring, now that’s liberty bell.
6. Stop Playing’
Here, Crooked serves up a lyrical spanking as he urges his peers in the industry to take their craft more seriously. The smoothest track on an already smooth project.
7. Good Gone Bad
99 problems, but? KXNG Crooked may not have issues when it comes to the ladies, but he addresses plenty of questions on this track. Crooked tackles poverty, lack of opportunity and hopelessness on this one. The production is perfect for a cypher type cut, the ideal backdrop to Crooked’s complex lyricism and rapid fire flow.
8. Let’s Go
Rapper Termanology definitely stays true to his rep in the underground scene for his lyrical capabilities. This is an edgy track where KXNG Crooked makes sure to let the competition know he’s not the one to test on the streets or the mic. He also had a few things to get off his chest about some of the bloggers out there rapping:
And I got some bloggers I don’t like at all, fuck your site, put me on the front cover of Final Call.
9. Bitch Got Me Fucked Up
Here Crooked frowns at the notion of him allowing unscrupulous women in the industry to jeopardize his career, and sounds quite good doing so.
10. Brand New Shit
This track closes out Statik KXNG and is a bit of a contrast in tone as KXNG Crooked is more loving towards the opposite gender and is willing to spoil that true loyal woman in his life.
I’d have to say that this project lived up to expectations. Statik KXNG touches on subjects ranging from life in the music industry to social injustice and love.
This project provides a good variety of content, all over dope beats and rhymes. Hopefully, this is just the early stages of a very fruitful relationship between this dynamic duo.
Standout Tracks: “Magic & Bird,” “Lost a Fan,” “Dead Or In Jail”
Overall Rating: 8/10