Hip-Hop has changed. There is no doubt or arguing that the artists most people would list if asked to name Hip-Hop acts are so far removed from the original ethos of the movement that they should be categorized under another genre entirely. It’s a shame that mainstream Hip-Hop today fails to live up to it’s potential to be a voice for the unheard, a vehicle for truth and knowledge and a form of expression for more than just the artists favourite trainers or sexual fantasies.
There are of course artists that DO still carry the flame of true hip-hop, albeit underground, one such artist being Kapwon (of Guerilla Republik), whos latest offering is ‘The Emerald Tablet EP’.
The EP opens with an eastern-mysticism influenced intro. Distant chimes, pan pipes and whispered vocals set the scene before the beat kicks in. Kapwon tells us ‘in the following EP I will reveal some of the mysteries, which as yet have only been touched on lightly’. From the start we know Kapwon is about to deliver something of much more importance than your average chart ‘hip-hop’ record.
From here on I am not going to focus on the subject matter of each track, but rather the production, flow and overall sound. I think you, as a listener, will have a much better experience if I leave it to you to discover the subject matters for yourself.
Track 2, ‘Seers of the Truth – Kapwon & Kalki ft Deepak Chopra’ employs a bold beat, sampled Indian vocals and piano riff (heard that combination anywhere else this year??) and is a perfect follower to the scene setting intro. The sampled Deepak Chopra speech sets furnishes the listener with extremely thought provoking concepts and Kapwon & Kalki deliver vocals with perfect flow, stretching and shortening syllables expertly to wrap around the track beautifully. ‘Heaven and Earth – M00kdatruth & Kapwon’ follows as track 3 and is a high point of the album. There’s no ramping here, the vocals are delivered aggressively whilst maintaining meaning and rhythm (a technique often attempted but seldom pulled off). There are so many golden rhyming couplets here that any poet would be proud to have thought up in such a context, I would go as far as to say that some are pure genius.
Track 4, ‘Mesopotamia Music – Kalki & Kapwon’ showcases some imaginative rhymes over a dragging Asian-influenced beat. Just when the track seems to be running on low gas a documentary-style narrative over the beat throws us into the second half, which pick the track back up and ride the listener to the end with faultless flow.
The style is switched up perfectly for track 5, ‘Tablet 1’. A slower beat and parlayed vocal really showcasing Kapwon’s true talent as a writer, rhyming in prose without sacrificing meaning, and delivering in a way that encourages interest magnificently.
‘Om Kara’ is track 6 and goes in from the start with yet more knowledge-furnishing rhymes. The flow pitches itself somewhere between the laid back style of ‘Tablet 1’ and the more aggressive style employed earlier in the E.P and sits perfectly at this point. Once again there are some major rhyming coups in this one!
Bonus track ‘Starchild Freestyle’ closes the E.P. and takes the opportunity to affirm the talent of Kapwon displayed throughout and runs with it. It’s a simple track, and that’s perfect, focus here is rightly drawn to the vocals, which are delivered with the kind of expert timing that any hip-hop fan should be blown away by.
Buy this E.P., not just for the on-point flow, gold-standard poetry and banging beats, but for the knowledge passed onto the listener through all of this. This record shows that Hip-Hop has the opportunity still to do what it used to do, to educate, to teach and to encourage growth, it’s a real shame that more artists don’t take that opportunity.
Click here to check out the EP for yourself!
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