Combining classically dark hip hop vibes with a few flickers of experimental electronica and a notably emotional, thoughtful display of lyricism, Kbackwood$ exercises an identity-loaded sense of creativity on this mix-tape. The music is mellow but accompanies the more laid-back, exhausted moments in life. Throughout the playlist the artist deals with topics such as fear, insomnia, passion, desire, all intertwined with personal story-telling and reflections on life itself. From Intro through I Know you get a feel for the energy of the music and the voice of the rapper – the tone and the lyrics work towards the same honest expression and pour through like diary entries.
Bimmer Toys furthers the touch of speed presented earlier, still this tired, late-night vibe comes through, quicker lines contrast with simpler ones, all the while moving back and forth between his own and ‘her’ issues in an open and relatable way. Many of the tracks on this project run for less than three minutes, they feel shorter lived than most releases, though the effect is that you get a distinct feel for each piece and the experience hits with a little more impact due to its brief burst of energy.
Fake Love brings through a melody and a thick beat that seem reminiscent of modern, emotional hip hop – such as that recently lit up by the likes of Lil Peep. The song later veers off in an RnB meets hip hop manner, contrasting material observations with more personal, intimate desires. Let You Go follows and offers one of the most experimental soundscapes yet – lashings of reverb surround the leading vocal, the auto-tune effect makes everything seem a little disjointed or troubled, reinforcing the turmoil and confusion in the underlying sentiment. The song lays bare the artist’s own truth, vulnerabilities and all, so you connect deeply here.
Interlude (Wait / Stop) is, despite its shortness, one of the most colourful and rhythmically interesting moments on the mix-tape. Kbackwood$’ flow takes on a new sense of energy and character, it’s quirky and creative and broadens the dynamic at this central stage. Fast Cars! follows and continues this growth, introducing one of the most captivating story-lines yet and a soundscape that layers detail upon detail to build something compelling and interesting. A definite highlight for the performance and for this meeting between clarity, creative expression, and unique musicality.
Up From Now highlights even more eclecticism by brightening the mood a little. The leading voice seems hopeful, the concept deals with possibility and self-empowerment in a melodically satisfying and confident way. The track has a leadership feel to it that stands tall among the quietness underlined elsewhere. Another highlight for the sheer optimism and rhythm combined.
Two Faced afterwards offers up a blissful little soundscape, upon which another impressive melodic outpouring thrives, and one of the most memorable hooks yet. This is an album you can appreciate piece by piece as there are so many feelings presented from one moment to the next. At the same time though, the playlist in full is easy to vibe to, and the music actually gets more enjoyable the further along you move.
Outro finishes things up by reminding listeners of the darker thought patterns and the reality of life behind the glamour or vibrancy of the music. Kbackwood$ opens up immensely here, pouring his heart and soul into the process and letting you get as close as possible. All the while, one of the best backdrops yet surrounds and soaks you in a perfectly rhythmic, down-tempo mood. This track opens your eyes to the truth in a way that makes those earlier ones seem intriguing again, so you want to go back and re-explore it all, to feel that connection even more-so. Rival showcases Kbackwood$’ own personal truth and individuality in a big way. Modern hip hop fans or those of us who think far too much will most likely find solace in these songs.