Deeply atmospheric sound-design combines nostalgic power of rhythm and pace with contemporary quickness of vocal and writing – Blake9’s creative hip hop project Kinnakeet takes things to fresh levels throughout.
As an opener, We Really Can’t Wait delivers an aptly alluring hit – that eighties drumline and warped synth backdrop making for the perfect accompaniment, as a featured Mo Turk delivers a consistently versatile, freestyle-esque outpouring of clarity and conviction.
Features are the lifeblood of Kinnakeet, Blake9’s collaborative journey beginning during the year of the global lockdowns, and resulting in this eight-track collection of originals; effortlessly blending genres and consistently drawing you in. Kinnakeet itself is an Algonquian Indian word, meaning ‘that which is mixed’. And so, the strength of community, creative co-working, proceeds to raise the bar.
The Scout follows and versatility stands tall already, a shifting rap lead and a dreamy, yesteryear hip hop backdrop for that storytelling depth and immersive vibe. Then we get a complete change in mood as the uplifting and ethereal Speedbump takes on a mellow vocal pace and profound, reflective lyrical thread. A personal favourite for its topical relevance, lo-fi calm, and the conscious clarity of the rap.
I’m Done is simple in style yet incredibly catchy, quirky, and increasingly likable. Another highlight, with unmistakable vocals from Mondo the Alien, and an equally recognisable production style to match. The whole thing resolves brilliantly to the title concept, making for an addictive realm of self-empowerment that uplifts and inspires.
Eclectic as ever, Finish Line comes in with character and boldness, clever rhymes and quirky references, alternative or underground hip hop influences standing tall, and relentless bars that urge you to listen more than once. Then it’s over to Leaf Grizzly for a hypnotic and catchy Old Man Grizz.
Renowned favourites The Acorns also make a welcomed appearance on this project, The Heist injecting melody and EDM-esque euphoric brightness alongside calmly confident vocals and the ever-intelligent framing of ideas.
Then things are wrapped up with energy and volume, as the bold yet spacious and enjoyable Anti crafts a purposeful, rhythmically enthralling, gritty yet dreamy final curtain. Another favourite, SpacemanJuice showcases absolute unity with the soundscape as he details this story with smart, sharp bars and fearless personal storytelling.
Kinnakeet is impressive, in more ways than one, but it’s also an easy pleasure to let play – the kind of eclectic, interesting project that’s also loaded with strong grooves and good vibes; ideal for the summer season. Topical and social depths emerge in subtle doses, heartbreak and optimism too. It’s familiar yet unpredictable, and features a plethora of highly skilled artists.
Absolutely worth a few streams this season and beyond. The project is also being released on vinyl, limited to an exclusive 50 copies made for those who get there first. Find out more via Candle Wax Records.