KAi Skywalker – New Mind | Old Soul : [Chapter IV] [Review]
Vancouver, BC - Fresh off his critically acclaimed mixtape, #NEO, KAi Sky Walker has devised a ground breaking concept for his latest endeavour, New Mind | Old Soul. Breaking off from the conventional release method, NMOS is designed to keep listeners on edge – eagerly awaiting more, yet completely oblivious as to what is next. Chapter IV sees KAi Sky Walker rap over 90s inspired beats. Resurrecting multiple samples and flows from legends such as Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac and Jay Z, juxtaposing the young Canadian amongst some of raps all-time greats. Did we mention samples? Lots and lots of samples. Hopefully whoever was responsible for file management on his album was paid well. Respect.
Welcome attempts are made to conquer new territory while still paying tribute to a past generation. The intro for instance is a six minute skit where the drums don’t even come in until well after three minutes. This is the type of thing that fans and avid listeners should be getting excited about. Things that catch us off guard. Decisions that are bold and experimental. It’s also fresh to see that KAi didn’t stick to your typical three verse, three chorus with an intro and outro rap song for every track. One can just picture the producers in the studio: “Ok, KAi here’s the game plan. You’re going to rap your ass off and then we’re just going to let the beat ride out for two and a half minutes. Fuck it.” There’s a lot of great stuff like this. The production choices are brave and will be appreciated even if they’re not applied to the greatest beats in the world.
While the installment in this series was specifically designed to be a throwback, there isn’t anything that will likely be stirring up nostalgia. When you think 90′s you probably go “California Love”, “Big Pimpin’”, “Still Not A Player” but instead we’re given 13 relatively un-energetic, passive aggressive beats. No songs we can dance to. No songs the girls can mix drinks to and play off their iPod’s while they get ready to leave for the club. It’s definitely not meant for a party. It’s obviously not about having songs to dance to, though there is a serious lack of enthusiasm to the beat selection. A lot of questions are left unanswered and that trip down memory lane is sometimes a bit bleak and foggy.
“Rap Reborn” is how the album is titled – blending the past with the present. KAi takes bits and pieces from a bunch of rappers but most of the time it just goes a bit too far and you’ll find yourself thinking “shit that sounds so much like…” We understand he’s resurrecting flows from classic albums but beyond that there’s still not much that sounds new either. Is this album just made so he can showcase how well he’s able to imitate some of the greats? It sure feels like that at times. It’s a shame KAi didn’t use his own recipe at times because the guy is so vocally gifted. His voice was made for recording. He has the ability to deliver his words with razor precision and makes intricate, acrobatic flows sound effortless. Listen to “Lullaby” – track # 8. Insane.
“When I’m like 35 my Dad will be 60/ I’m trying to have 60 million to make sure he ain’t that busy/ Stay up and wake up early to make sure we can be picky/ I put that overtime in” KAi is hungry for success. He let’s us know on numerous occasions how hard he grinds. He has the passion, the right attitude and a campaign building buzz for him. The only thing he’s missing is that bull’s eyes. When he finds out where he fits in, he’s going to launch himself into the upper echelon. With a total of nine separate chapters on the horizon, each one representing a different type of production and sound, it’s more than likely one of them will hit the G-spot.
“We back, we back chasing/ That thing that we never catch racing/ On tour, cross border, Google map grazing/ Multiple Passports, feeling like Matt Damon”. Multiple passports indeed. And and an overall strong showcase of how Mr. KAi Williams can flip multiple styles. There is so much potential in this kid. Be sure to catch all nine chapters of the New Mind | Old Soul collection.
Written by Max Dishaw for HipHopCanada
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