Thursday, August 21, 2008

Reviews:: Speak - The Kite Flyers EP

Something you may not know or care about: we get a lot of email. This is not a bad thing really, who doesn't like getting email? Nothing spices up an otherwise dull Tuesday afternoon like an email from an all-female nu-grass trio from Sweden announcing their Estonian tour dates. We have a look at everything, but it's kind of physically impossible to listen to all the music we're sent. One thing we do try and do is check out music sent to us directly by the bands themselves. That is doubly true when someone says something like this "...I do however want the opportunity to be the next Criss-Cross. If i can make you jump jump with my brand of snarky southern california hiphop, i will consider my job complete."

We received this from California MC Speak, who bills himself as the 34th best rapper alive. Kool Moe Dee has Guru slotted in at 34, and I'm certainly not wading into that debate. What I will say is that Speak is a really talented MC who makes music that is at once thoughtful and very listenable. It's rare that we are sent hip hop completely out of the blue these days that I can describe in that manner, so when we do, I get excited about it and need to share it with the masses (or at least the people that read the hill, you folks are my kind of mass!)

Speak wears his h-word influences on his sleeve, and, unless he's being completely ironic and I'm missing it, he's proud of it. American Apparel, PBR, Girl Talk, and art school girl refs in a hip hop song could be a little be a little too much for much in another context, but I don't mind it in Speak's case. Because the whole thing feels authentic to me, Speak is giving you who he is through the medium he loves most. It also doesn't hurt that he's got a great flow and is rhyming over solid beats.

I mean, just check the 1-2 punch of Oooh Stylish and the title track on Speak's new release The Kite Flyers EP. The former, an ode to the pretty scenestresses that turn Speak's head, ooozes old school New York with car horns, a crazy disco-inspired bassline, world famous supreme team radio clip, and a BDK sample in the background, while the latter finds a pensive Speak over a more traditional, Pete Rock-esque bumper. Making that kind of transition sound as effortless as Speak does makes him someone worth watching. But there's more than that to like, as, due to my family ride being a baby blue Celica hatchback in the late 80's, I was hooked from the first line of the soul laced opener 21 Says 'Ello: "Outta college, money all spent, '94 Celica, front hood dents". I also like My American Apparel, because, despite its unfortunate name, it sounds like something Schoolly D would spit over.

The Kite Flyers EP is available as a free download on Speak's myspace page, so if you're looking for some new, interesting hip hop, you should head on over. I know I'll be on the lookout for a full-length from him in the hopefully not-so distant future.

Posted at 11:02 AM by naedoo :: 4 comments

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At 10:03 PM, Anonymous 1HP. did sayeth:


Sleep is overrated.


At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous did sayeth:

Wow ironic rap music. This kid is the truth


At 1:05 AM, Anonymous samurai1200 did sayeth:

damn this whole EP is fire.... production is on point too.


At 10:08 PM, Anonymous alex did sayeth:

wow, this is a really well-written review. this album is fantabulous.


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