I’m pretty vocal about how much I love hip hop and the huge impact it has made on my life. Not to bring down the mood…*DEBBIE DOWNER ALERT SIREN*…but when my father was very sick with cancer, I would listen to Tupac so much, I could recite almost every single line. Even though it was written in a completely different context, the Tupac line: “I got nothing to lose, everybody gotta die” gave me some weird peace when I was watching my father die. It’s hard to explain, but all I know is hip hop has been an art form I have been utterly obsessed with since. A little 5’2” hip hop head.
I randomly stumbled upon Sonny Shotz’s 2014 solo album “American Summer” and was so enamored that I immediately did what I do best – casual internet stalking. But you know, casual, so it’s fine. And Sonny was so kind and wonderful, let my “UR SO GREAT!!” fangirling slide on by and sent me his latest project — “Utopia Too” — under the group The Kings Dead, which includes Sonny Shotz and Alex Mendoza.
There’s a definite Kid Cudi vibe, but a bit more readily accessible. As much as I’m a massive Kid Cudi fan, you’ve got to be in the right mood for his albums. Whereas “Utopia Too” will ease you into the journey, wherever you are.
One of the things I really appreciate about the album is the lyrical presentation. That’s the thing that really gets me down about a lot of mainstream, radio play hip hop — lyrics are absolute garbage. Sure, a beat can be fire. Great, cool. But do we just forget about lyrics? Do we just say, “OH NOBODY EVEN LISTENS ANYMORE!” No. Not true. Not true at all. Sonny has referenced Bob Dylan as an influence, and it shows. There’s a lot of poetic nature to this album. He is deliberate in his wording and the story he chooses to tell. It’s not just background noise — no, he’s TELLING you something.
There’s nothing simplistic about this album. It’s all so layered. In fact, I sent it to my best friend who is picky with the stuff she gives the thumbs up to, and she loved it. I think that’s such a sign of artistry, when you can almost transcend a genre. For example, “Extroversion” is so jazzy and feels reminiscent of 90s hip hop/RnB, I could listen to it ALL DAY. Really. Come watch me and see.
Flow is red label, these boys are margaritas.” — The Flagship
I am so excited to see what’s in store for The Kings Dead and just know, now is the chance to jump onboard. Otherwise we’ll be sitting there just smirking, “We told you so.”