Mixing the core elements of rap, hip-hop and soul The Kids Turned Out Alright is the debut album from this new(ish) kid on the hip-hop block. The album was sonically prefaced by the great delusion, an opening salvo of deft and dexterous lyricism, incisive and insightful wordplay and melodic flows, all of which run to a seductive and soulful track.
And whilst that is a great calling card for the album that follows, it is just one track and can only say so much about this eleven-song offering. Because of course, given the room that an album affords, any artist is going to revel in the space available and use it to creatively stretch out, push boundaries, both sonic and personal, fill that canvas with all manner of musical hues and interesting images.
tetris! is a hip-hop tirade running over a simmering groove, will is a funky and glitchy array of sonics held together by a wandering old-school synth and the power and poignancy of the words and the title track sees Prince Shakir in autobiographical mode.
There is even room for strange, spoken-word inclusions fashioned into small, sonic outbursts; mama’s interlude is coated in hazy textures and chiming tones, which is resolved at the end of the album into a full song. hot16! even opens proceedings with our musical host turning mirth into melody before moving things into a beguiling blend of rap and operatic backdrops.
The Kids Turned Out Fine is the sound of urban music moving forward. You can see where it comes from – hip-hop pioneers, dexterous rap commentators, modern soul experiments, ambient electronica and creative beat masters – but as always, where it is going is the more interesting aspect of the music. Some elements of the album are familiar, much of it is fresh and new.
People might think that revolution is the answer but when it comes to making music it is often evolution that delivers the goods, and this is the sound of musical evolution delivering the goods.