It’s been far too long since we’ve heard new Kal (whether it’s been as Sidewalk Kal, Kal Pacino or Kal the God) and even longer since we’ve heard Kal and CT beatsmith Color Plus team up on a joint. ”P A R A N O I D” demonstrates that Kal hasn’t been slacking off but has been maturing and sharpening his craft. The track opens up with Kal rocking a near SPACEGHOSTPURRP like flow over Color Plus’ hypnotizing, narcotic-laced beat before opening up into a verse that is distinctively all his own. ”P A R A N O I D” features some of Kal’s best overdubbing (something he’s always been great at) with multiple tracks working together to create a multilayered and emotive verse. It’s clear that when “P A R A N O I D” comes to it’s quick stop by the end of the track that Kal doesn’t always need to say it directly to remind us that he’s a rap god.
Sidewalk Kal is Kal the God now and to help you remember the name change he’s released the conveniently titled new single “Kal the God”. We’ve had the privilege of seeing Kal perform live a few times this summer and “Kal the God” has been a live staple of his for a while now so it’s pretty awesome finally getting to hear it recorded. As expected, Kal doesn’t simply rap his lyrics over the beat but experiments with multiple vocal tracks and smaller vocal edits. Big General’s beat isn’t as ornate as some of Kal’s usual beats from Mattron, Color Plus or AceMo, but the extra space allows Kal to strut his charisma and personality all over the track. He’s Kal the God and he’s earned the title.
Last night Terence and I ventured out to our hipster haven in Brooklyn to meet up with the cool dudes Sidewalk Kal and Ghost Row who both gave amazing performances in an amazingly cramped space. Even though their set hardly lasted over 20 minutes, with Kal only jumping in for a few, they reminded proved there is a lot more to their talent than their lush performances. Kal has some serious gold coming through soon with a mixtape with Mattron dropping later this year. Whether dropping a few quick verses in a dude’s apartment infront of a crowd of sweaty hipsters or confidently striding over a minute of Mattron’s lush production, Kal never disappoints.
It’s not everyday that we run across an artist like Sean Cullen, the dude behind SEENMR and founding member of the Young Ho Collective. Sean Cullen is so psyched on music, life and his crew that his personality beams through his recordings and has made his Chinatown Tape one of the most buzz-worthy beat tapes of the year. I had a chance to chat with SEENMR and the bulk of that conversation has been formated for your reading pleasure after the jump. Being the cool dude that he is, Sean also threw together an awesome mix that I highly recommend you listen to while reading this philosophic conversation. Get ready for the Young Ho revolution.
Over the past year, Soundcloud and the communities building in it have played a larger and larger part in how I found music. Soundcloud has always been great for finding new ideas in electronic music, but not so much in other genres, especially rap. Sidewalk Kal is one of the few rappers who has really stood out to me, and over the past few months has become one of my favorite rappers in general. Aside from getting the best beats from best-kept-secret beatmakers across the internet, Kal has never delivered an even slightly disappointing verse. I got to talk to Kal last week about how he chooses beats, the Chicago rap scene, and total creativity as an artist and now our conversation is here for your enjoyment after the jump, largely unedited as usual.
The hip-hop video norms these days usually doesn’t deviate too far from the rappers involved in the song walking around their city, looking swaggy and doing fun/hoodrat/typical stuff. Impolite Society are some swaggy dudes, but, as we’ve learned from blog favorite Sidewalk Kal, they also aren’t just another hip-hop crew rapping about how swaggy they are. In the video for their awesome single “The World”, Impolite Society don’t break away from the norm (let’s be honest these dudes are swaggin), however, they still deliver the same “different” personality that makes them one of the freshest crews in hip-hop right now. In the video, the members of Impolite Society come across as normal if not still-cooler-than-you dudes. As a result, the guys deliver their thought provoking and socially conscious lines with a fittingly effortless vibe.
Recently, when people ask me who my favorite undiscovered rapper is I always try to put them on to Sidewalk Kal. Currently based out of Chicago, Sidewalk Kal has been blessing us with a consistent stream of great music for a while now and shows no sign of slowing down. ”OctoTrex” is Kal’s latest release and it has him teaming up with Brooklynite ID 4 WINDZ. WINDZ provides an understated yet memorable beat for the two to spit over with Kal stepping up his word play and delivery to some of the best we’ve seen from him so far. WINDZ is similarly old school minded rapper with a harder and grittier lyrical bent to compliment Kal’s more abstract musings and references. I also just found out that I went to high school with Kal’s younger sister which is pretty darn cool, amirite?