The Internet is the new The Streets. Both the youngest of the young and the most seasoned of veterans have found fertile new land in the world of digital distribution. Free from the limitations and cost of physical media, rappers such as Gucci Mane have found renowned success in releasing music directly to the public and more importantly, to the already-targeted audience awaiting it. There are some incredible success stories, like Nipsey Hu$sle’s Crenshaw: The Mixtape, released at $100 as a limited edition before being made free to download. The Radiohead model works and Austin, Texas’s Kenny Gee is one of the latest to embrace the wave (FREE MAX B) of online music sites such as Bandcamp which allows artists to market their brands but also provide full samples- the way to hook the clientele is to let them have the first one for free or cheap.
With a moniker bound to catch the ear due to the career of Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the 17 year old Kenny has released his long-awaited Hieroglyphics. In this modern age where the world is a little bit smaller than it used to be, the regional divides that had kept hip-hop as feuding city-states are washing away, allowing for more versatility in influences and in turn, production. Kenny’s standard flow is thick as Texas tea, and he drips it to molasses on the stand-out “Highways,” buoyed by Pimp C piano-and-synth pours. Immediately he switches it up on “This My Shit,” riding out trap-snares and Mr. Bangladesh-esque stabby synths.
“LongLivePimpC” and its subject matter should not surprise anyone, with Kenny echoing Chad Butler’s purring-motor drawl over woozy horn inserts that would make the man proud had quit that fucking lean. Conversely the A$ap house style is all over album closer “Ring Ring,” and the bass gives way to tense digitized strings that Ferg would be comfortable struggling over, but Kenny feels more at home in them. The title track glooms and dooms with enough deep textures to make Young Chop turn his head, although Kenny certainly has more on-mic personality than Chief Keef.
Unlike artists like Porter Ray who have a bit more seasoning, Kenny Gee doesn’t quite evolve from the sources of his interests, but he does capture them note-perfectly. Much like another K-named rapper, he has an ease in shifting his styles that can only get sharper. At only 17 he sees the scrolls and the symbols and he’s given us his own translation. If he keeps his ear as sharp as it is, the future will provide exciting new linguistics in hip-hop from Kenny Gee.
Rafael Gaitan was born in 1985, but he belongs to the ’70s. He is a big fan of onomatopoeia, being profane and spelling words right on the first try. Rafael has a burgeoning stand-up career and writes love letters to inanimate objects as well as tweets of whiskey and the mysteries of the heart at @bearsurprise. He ain’t got time to bleed.