And the award for most underrated rapper goes to…
After bursting onto the scene in 2002, Kevin Brereton, better known as K-Os (pronounced “chaos”), has yet to really make his mark on the majority of hip-hop fans (myself included). However, with Yes!, the Canadian rapper might finally get the recognition he deserves.
After listening to just one track I could tell I was in for something special. Yes! isn’t your typical rap album. Those coming in expecting tales from ‘the hood’ will be sorely disappointed. That isn’t K-Os’ style. In fact, it’s pretty hard to determine what his style actually is. The one thing I can say is that the man is highly influenced by a lot of different musicians and genres. I could hear everyone from Daft Punk to Wyclef Jean to The Beatles in this album. That’s not a bad thing and derivative is certainly not a word I could use here.
I mean, in what other rap album would you find a mix of smooth neo-soul, awesome guitar riffs and synthesiser work any electronic musician would be proud of? There’s not many out there than can create an album that sounds as eclectic as Yes! does, but still make it feel like a cohesive musical experience. Each track is great in it’s own right. Some, like ‘I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman’, hit you straight away and it’s hard to get them out of your head (as I write, this that track is playing. I am singing along). Tracks like Mr. Telephone Man took a little more time to burrow their way in, but after a few plays they were in my head and there to stay. It’s a cohesive album, without a track I feel the need to skip. That said, I can see myself overplaying some of them. Surely that’s testament enough to how good Brereton’s songwriting and production actually is?
Lyrically, this is one of the best hip-hop albums I’ve listened to in a while. It’s great to hear something that’s not a mindless collection of rhyming words and big brand promotions. Anyone who can reference Batman and Charles Dickens (especially whilst sampling the theme from The O.C.), and make it sound cool, has got my vote.
The one thing K-Os does very well is strike a good balance between the serious and playful sides of hip-hop. At times the album can definitely make you think. That’s something that I really admire on a rap record, and something that’s very rarely seen today. There’s certainly tracks here that could be this summer’s big party anthems, but, sadly, I think they might be overlooked in place of something a little more mainstream. This album certainly secures Mr. Brereton’s place as a prominent player in the hip-hop world. Hopefully people will wise-up and start to pay attention to this man of many talents.