So I will be honest, this is not a genre I listen to with a great frequency or variety. For me to tell the difference between good hip-hop or bad hip-hop might be an impossible task. Music is very subjective in its own right, so I guess in me saying something is bad or good is merely objective to my personal viewpoint.
Okay, enough rambling. k-os is a hip-hop (or rap? I can never really tell) artist from Toronto, who has been in the music industry since 2002. I feel his name is very well known and anyone who has paid attention to Canadian music over the last two decades should be familiar with his work. Joyful Rebellion is his sophomore album with debuted in 2004. On the first listen, songs such as "Crabbuckit" and "Man I Used To Be" immediately stick out as songs I have heard before. Overall, I felt this album was very well curated and had many different elements that I enjoyed. I felt the blending of hip-hop, rap, funk, reggae was something that I have never really listened to in Canadian music before. Again, this is perhaps due to me novice experience listening to this genre, but I enjoyed branching out from my normal listening preferences. The songs seemed to flow together well, and it was refreshing to hear that k-os does not rely on vulgarity or absurdity to get his point across. In saying all that, I did feel some songs were not that interesting. Despite winning multiple awards, "B-Boy Stance" was a song that I felt was pretty awful and this is perhaps where my hip-hop naivety kicks in.
Crabbuckit was probably my favorite song on the album, but this was only after I realized how clever the lyrics were. The symbolism of crabs in a bucket revolves around the idea that "If I can't have success, neither can you" whereby one crab is always pulling another down as they try to climb out of the bucket. I know as humans we can often be demoralizing towards others for their perceived successes and I have seen too many times where one person just seeks out opportunities to pull another person down. I've always hated this concept and felt we should hoist people up so they can achieve their greatest successes in life. Moral of the story is, don't be an asshole. From listening to one album I will make the brash assumption that k-os is not an asshole.
In the end I enjoyed this album more than I expected to. I didn't feel like it was ever a chore to turn it on, despite the fact that I would skip some songs. I feel like this is the only artist thus far where I wanted to listen to other albums to see how his music may have evolved or changed. I don't know if I would enjoy all of his stuff, but I think if k-os had a "best of" album I would listen to it quite a bit.
Random k-os facts: his stage name stands for "Kevin's Original Sound", Kevin being his first name.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 crabs in a bucket
next week: The Combine
Also, the formatting for putting lyrics into the blog does not jive well with the formatting of the blog. I need to figure out a plan on how to some lyrics in. Its a work in progress.