Devine Carama – Kingtucky

a1315363469_10Conscious Hip-Hop

Self-Released October 16, 2016

This is the first Devine Carama album that I’ve listened to, front to back, since he dropped No Child Left Behind over three years ago. That’s not to say he hasn’t been busy – since then, Devine has released a handful of albums, EPs, and singles. When I listened to No Child Left Behind – my first real exposure to his music – I was struck by how it distanced itself from a genre that so often indulges itself in material possessions, and instead sought social change and cultural awareness.

Kingtucky continues to channel that spirit, but now incorporates the changes that have occurred in Devine’s life and American culture over the time between. Still here are lyrics about respect, righteous culture, and bringing up the youth with a positive influence. Mixed in with all of this, Devine takes moments to reflect on his progression and evolution in hip-hop, also acknowledging what it takes to remain grounded as an artist. The beats on the album are produced by Obvious and Well Blended who both use some great samples to put together some smooth, retro settings for Devine and some great local guests to rap over.

What sets this album apart, for me, are the tracks that take a chance and address controversy. Though this spirit lives throughout the album, “Devil Stole Hip Hop” looks it most squarely in the eye. After a spoken word intro, Devine describes a show he played in small-town Southern Indiana for an all-white crowd: ‘My first song about police brutality, cause as a black man that’s my reality, and the crowd start booing and calling me a racist – that’s the first time I saw the devil try to take this.’ It’s a track that makes you listen.

At over an hour long, Devine gives himself time to pack a lot into this record. Kingtucky’s got great lyrics with, a range of substance, and it’s all laid over some solid, smooth beats – stop and listen to what he’s got to say.

Tracks I Liked: A Love Like Ours!!, Rather Unique!, Kingtucky!!, B-Boy Burial!, Devil Stole Hip-Hop!!!, MC Commandments/Show & Prove!!, Lake Full of Regrets!, KYAliens Pt. 1!

Ben Southworth – October 23, 2016 – Kenwick Place

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