Tag Archives: Brooklyn

New Joint – Skyzoo / Talib Kweli

Skyzoo ft. Talib Kweli – “Spike Lee Was My Hero” (Duck Down Music / 2013)

The NY emcee pays homage to Brooklyn’s favourite film director on this Tall Black Guy-produced track from the album “A Dream Deferred”.

Home Of The Brave – Ka

Quality OutDaBoxTV interview with NYC’s Ka speaking on the negative impact of drugs on his Brooklyn neighbourhood during the 80s, the inspiration behind his brilliant album “Grief Pedigree” and his passion for the art of rhyme.

Album Review – Ka


“Grief Pedigree”

(Iron Works)

Heads who keep their ear to the ground will no doubt already be familiar with former Natural Elements member Ka’s brand of quiet storm wordplay thanks to his appearances on projects from The GZA and Roc Marciano plus his own 2008 debut “Iron Works”. Now, after having spent the last few months building a steady buzz with a series of well-crafted viral videos, the Crooklyn lyricist drops the self-produced “Grief Pedigree”, an album that is sure to go down as one of 2012’s best whilst achieving the kind of cult-status amongst subterranean Hip-Hop junkies that will ensure it receives steady rotation for years to come.

To put it simply, Ka makes mood music. He’s the first to admit that his contribution to NYC’s Hip-Hop legacy isn’t for everyone, but therein lies this album’s strength. In the spirit of early East Coast classics such as BDP’s “Criminal Minded” or Just-Ice’s “Back To The Old School”, “Grief Pedigree” is the work of an artist making music from the heart first and foremost, with his initial concern being that those in his immediate circle appreciate and respect his craft. If anyone else does, well, that’s a bonus. But whilst listening to this collection of minimalist beats and coded rhymes, you get the impression that even if Ka went platinum, it wouldn’t mean a thing if the homeboy he gives a pound to each time he visits his nearest bodega didn’t also give him props for reppin’ BK correctly. As both an individual and an emcee Ka is a product of his environment, and the sights, sounds and struggles of inner-city New York fuel his art on both a musical and emotional level here with unique results.

On the sparse, keyboard-driven opener “Chamber” Ka swings between hopeful and hopeless, celebrating his drive to make a better life whilst also admitting that when pressed some old habits die hard (“Livin’ off rough streets scarred me, Now it’s hard to be godly if I ain’t eatin’ hardly”). Similarly melancholy is the deceptive “Summer”, which, instead of being the warm ode to fun in the sun that its title suggests, is actually a haunting prediction of drama-filled days to come involving corrupt police, tragic shoot-outs and senseless revenge.

“Decisions” is an attempt by Ka to “teach the shorties” over a chunky soul groove that all their choices have consequences, whilst the lush, hypnotic loop that forms the sonic backbone of “Every…” allows the Brownsville lyricist’s rhymes about big dreams and street politics to hang in the air just long enough to evoke a real sense of the hardships endured by Ka along life’s winding road.

The string-heavy “Iron Age” finds the Crooklyn rhyme-writer teaming-up with Strong Island comrade Roc Marciano, demonstrating the natural chemistry shared by the pair that will surely make their upcoming Metal Clergy project a memorable release. Over production laced with tension, Ka tussles with the fact that as much as he wants to leave the street life behind him he “can’t change overnight like Ebenezer”, whilst Marcberg threatens to “trample” the competiton “like a woolly mammoth”.

Ka’s production technique throughout “Grief Pedigree” is largely based around the simple-but-effective usage of some well-chosen loops. Rather than take the route of packing the album with potentially generic East Coast boom-bap beats, Ka’s decision to build his musical backdrop using a varied selection of unfamiliar samples gives the project a character all of its own whilst also ensuring the emcee’s low-key delivery isn’t constantly competing against dense, drum-heavy tracks.

“Grief Pedigree” showcases the talents of a man who has seen more in life than he probably should have and who has no doubt made some decisions along the way that he probably isn’t proud of. But as much as Ka’s detailed, world-weary verses paint a gritty picture of New York’s underbelly, the material heard on this album also conjures up feelings of redemption and deliverance, as if Ka’s ability to create music is also what allows him to make order out of the chaos around him.

So with that in mind, it’s obvious that with his passion and love for Hip-Hop, Ka would still be making music with our without an audience to share it with. It just so happens that in 2012 that audience now includes listeners not just in Brooklyn, but from all corners of the Hip-Hop Nation. Salute.

Ryan Proctor

Ka – “Vessel” (Iron Works / 2012)

Get It Goin’ – Torae

Talented NY lyricist Torae kicks it with Emilio Sparks about musical inspirations and the pressure of following in the footsteps of Biggie and Jay-Z as a Brooklyn emcee.

Torae Freestyle

New Joint – Brooklyn

Brooklyn – “It’s Brooklyn” ( Eclipse112 / 2008 )

Sky’s The Limit – Skyzoo

Brooklyn’s Skyzoo in NYC’s Fat Beats record store with Loud.Com talking about his forthcoming album “The Salvation” and some of his favourite verses.

Part One

Part Two

Real Backpack Rap – Black Moon / Smif-N-Wessun

1993 Black Moon / Smif-N-Wessun freestyle from NYC’s legendary Stretch & Bobbito radio show.