It might be a bit late to serve up some suitable sounds for 4/20, but there’s always next year and there’s always time for smartly blunted hip-hop.
In spite of its perhaps modest ambitions (as the accompanying e-mail noted “its a loosie i made right after #LIGHT but it fits the spirit of 420 so i let it go”), Kami de Chukwu‘s “The Lean…1 2 D(ie) 4” is one of the young rappers most intriguing tracks yet. Sprawling and warm, tapping into stream of consciousness rhyming without losing any of Kami’s usual sharpness, and nailing an atmosphere without dedicating itself mindlessly to the substances that may or may not inspire that atmosphere, “The Lean” is perfectly sorted for a late night stroll or a mid day smoke. Though recorded some months back, it feels like progression encapsulated, the sound of a young rapper learning how to best inhabit a beat and create intriguing content out of tried and true topics, discovering how medium and message can intertwine to elevate a track beyond surface enjoyment to deeper connection. It’s blunted without being sloppy, hazy without ever losing the razor focus of Kami’s lithe, layered rapping.
“The Lean” may be music designed for a smoke, but its introspective in ways that a song like “Hits From The Bong,” for example, was never meant to be. Give it a listen below.