Sleeper Artist: Simple as k-os

23 07 2007

by maddness

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While currently on tour boasting his new album Atlantis-Hymns For Disco, the versatile artist known as k-os should not be trying to get noticed, as he has been around a few years already (not to the knowledge of enough). The Canadian born singer, rapper, songwriter, and producer jumped on the scene with singles in 1993 and ’94. Claiming to be unhappy with his musical “style”, he disappeared from the scene. After a couple of cameo appearances in 1999, k-os (real name Kheaves) released his debut solo album, Exit in 2002. The use of a band with a variety instruments is often a rarity in hip hop, the likes of accoustic guitars, keyboards, the sax or bongos not seen very often. Providing a genius blend of Hip Hop, Rock, Reggae and R&B(!), k-os often plays a guitar or keyboard himself while rapping and singing his tracks live. Proof of this artist’s versatility, k-os brilliantly creates a lyrical story arc on Exit, with the tracks “Superstar Pt. 1”, “Superstar Pt. 2”, and “Superstar Pt. Zero”, all three almost living in separate genres. “Pt.1” gives you the best of k-os’s Reggae skills, showcasing great soulful yells while you get lost in the lyrics. “Pt.2” slows you down with a very soft drum beat, a pair of guitars and vocal stylings that could be compared to a Ben Harper or Jack Johnson. “Pt. Zero” of the Superstar trio of tracks closes it out with energy, but most impressive is the ability to rap quickly on the now fast hip hop tempo of this song. The chorus goes to a R&B style vocal break, but doesn’t slow long before it gets back into the second impressive rap verse.

If the versatility isn’t enough on Exit, take note of a great musical collaboration, when k-os was a guest on The Chemical Brothers track “Get Yourself High”. This, if nothing else, proves that as a rapper, the stylings of k-os sound good to a beat from any shade of music. The second album Joyful Rebellion was a success on platinum levels in Canada, but got mixed reviews in the States. It’s always trouble when an artist is criticized for making their stuff too ‘political’, and that was said here. Mixing too much political content with the constant speaking out on the state of hip hop seemed to get away from what was brought by Exit. And while receiving a fair amount of good reviews in the United States, the album could have been better. That being said, it still was better than most you’ll find in the sense that it was something different musically. The versatility of the artist was still on display here, as all the genres again make an appearance on Joyful Rebellion, but the genius of Exit may have been a tough act to follow for k-os.

Released in February, Atlantis – Hymns For Disco again does not disappoint on creativity and gets the ship back on course for k-os. The album is nothing short of a success, taking you from the party scene with ‘Born To Run’ to looking out the window into a storm with ‘The Rain’; which contains a blues element that gives the song its flavor. This artist may be another that has slipped through mainstream society’s cracks, one could do worse than picking up the k-os discography.

The three letters in k-os have been said to mean two different things: 1)Knowledge of Self, and 2)Kheaves’ Own Sound. Whatever they stand for, good tunes are behind them, giving you all the reason to check out k-os on his current tour. The shows will extend until the end of August, giving you the perfect chance to add a good one to your summer concert itinerary.

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One response

9 11 2007
Miranda

OMG..Look what I found! A guitar signed by K-OS. How cool is this I never thought I would ever get my hands on a signed K-OS item. If you want to bid on some awesome items that I found visit this link. http://www.ebay.com/virginunite There is this item up for grabs and many others. I think the auction page said that new items go up every week too.

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