Play Fair, like all of the best music, is an act of conflict. Nothing good ever comes out of following convention or staying true to other peoples rules. The most interesting things happen at collision points, places where two distinct ideas or forces crash and create, collide and compliment. In the case of King Malik’s latest single it is a collision of styles and perhaps even eras.
It is hard not to miss the more modern inclusions, the contemporary take on slow and swaggering hip-hop, a dexterous flow of words and relentless lyrical salvos but this sits on top of soulful undercurrents, punctuating bass pulses, sonic swing and a gentle funk energy. And it is this dove-tailing of modern, cutting edge, urban acoustic art with more established soul sonics, this mixing of styles from across genres, and indeed perhaps, eras which marks this song out as being more than just an artist going with the flow. Okay, he’s going with the flow, but the flow is entirely of his own design. And that is what is important.
They say if you are going to steal, then steal from the best. But what King Malik does is not so much steal as be enthused by an established sound and then mix it in with his own style. He then does this a number of times until you can’t work out where one starts and the other ends. That’s how you create new music, at least new music that that matters.