Recommend if you like: MF DOOM, GZA, 21 Savage’s voice
Expectation: Ka is an underground rapper from NYC that has been known for years as one of hip hop’s most purely lyrical artists. His delivery is often slow and monotone, and the music often repetitive, but Ka seems to intentionally neglect these aspects of his artistry to focus exclusively on crafting absurdly complex rhyme schemes. Honor Killed the Samurai marks Ka’s 4th full-length solo project.
- Conflicted – If you don’t like this opening track, you won’t like the album. Ka’s rhymes are impressive as always, and the melancholy, echoing beat perfectly matches his voice.
- Just – More densely packed rhymes, more exposition on unfortunate circumstances and regrettable choices to make it through them.
- That Cold and Lonely – When he’s at his best, Ka’s lazy flow and monotone voice become irrelevant in the face of overwhelming lyrical prowess, and that’s exactly what happens here.
- Mourn at Night – Another very dark, sad, and lyrically astounding song, though here Ka’s delivery actually works in his favor, contributing well to the especially somber tone of the song.
- $ – While the lyrics here are still excellent, the number of awkward pauses is especially high, as if he wrote the song without hearing the beat and then forced the lyrics to fit. It doesn’t kill the song, but it is somewhat distracting.
- Destined – One of my favorite beats on the album (is that a harpsichord with a phaser on it?) and Ka’s delivery even has a bit of energy to it. A beat change, or any kind of variation, would really take the song to another level though.
- Ours – Another cool beat, another poetic performance by Ka, and a bit better hook than most of the songs on the project.
Overall: Ka is often considered a love-it-or-hate-it kind of artist. To some, his monotonous flow and simple, repetitive beats are simply dull, while others see his intricate, complex lyricism as more than redeeming the things he lacks. I wouldn’t doubt that there are many who even appreciate Ka’s voice and enjoy his flow; its just a niche appeal. Personally, I think Ka is just alright. His albums are entertaining for a while when you’re in the mood to just here chill beats and crazy rhymes, but his music feels inappropriate for the vast majority of occasions, and his albums have little replayability for me. If you want something from Ka that he isn’t, you will despise his music, but if you really are just in it for the lyrics, Ka is the man.