|Hard-hitting, no nonsense, straight to the point hip-hop albums are a dying breed. It’s rare to find anything that doesn’t require at least an hour of your time. And although that may be OK sometimes, it’s always a treat to find a breath of fresh air. There is nothing compromised on K-The-I???’s latest hard-hitting effort, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow. With producer Thavius Beck’s fast-paced beats and the MC’s lively rapping, the two have concocted a worthy listen.|
“Cell Shaded/Daydreams/Nightmares” is a vividly electronic song complete with club-hopping synths and keyboards. K maneuvers his way around with intelligent rhymes and metaphors filled with imagery and stories. Then there is the grimy and low-boding, “Lead the Floor.” The rumbling of the sounds are highlighted by snares and eerie loops, while K raps, “Leave it to beaver/I didn’t need her/and now she’s gone…life is what you make of it, you idiot/cry me a river.” It’s an honest and earnest outlook and one that should be applauded.
With his animated and somewhat unruly deliver, K shines as a superb MC. His flow is filled with candor and he almost always allows the right amount of cadence and rhythm to flow. Beck’s corresponding production is more in the IDM sense than on slow-moving, laid-back beats. And the two gel with each other, providing integral and significant contributions to the album’s seamless course.
There are also a great deal of guest MC’s, from Busdriver to High Priest, that show up to lend their vocals to the album’s scope of music. But ultimately, this is the K and Beck show, all the way. “Sabbath Faster” is a hyperactive fusion of “ha-has” and “oh-yeahs” that are combined with harried beats. “Before the Session” is a feature percussion song that conveys all of Beck’s beats, from furious snares to The Knife-like toms, to frantic keys. And the closing, “Man or Machine,” might start with a piano but there is no denying its spectral vocalizations and fantastic pace.
The title makes sense; this is a look into the past, present and future of hip-hop. It’s obvious that K’s opinion is leaning towards a more electronically-based style but his influences(everything from Wu-Tang Clan to the Notorious B.I.G.)are apparent. Almost every song lasts three brief minutes and it really gives you a sense as to the kind of MC K-The-I??? is: knowledgeable, talented, blunt and real. They’re all complimentary traits and they are front and center on Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow; a very solid album. - Delusions Of Adequacy