Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kembe X can 'Talk Back' and get away with it in impressive debut album

Talk Back by Kembe X
Chicago remains a blazing inferno of hip-hop talent now with Kembe X (Dikembe Jabari) being the latest hot ticket to drop an album, Talk Back (July 15, self-released), his debut.  The South Holland South Sider is hard and conscious and brings to his music dedication to creative clever wordplay (his influences include Nas, Common, the artists of Hypnotize Minds, and plenty more) and rebelliousness against our corrupt world.

Kembe starts Talk Back relatively downtempo and low-key but not without great presence and impact, as he shares his uneasy, hard-to-place feelings in the first couple songs.  Once things start to heat up, we can really feel Kembe's crushing power in his prominent vocals mid-disc.  He's got a progressive view on drugs, and his producers (The Antydote, Bentley Hazelwood, Hippie Sabotage, Crooklin, DJ FU) make brilliant new use of different samples and genres for a very fun, alternative sounding production set.

His guests include Roméo Testa, Zacari Pacaldo and fellow Village 777 group-mate Alex Wiley.  Talk Back is a great, insolent, biting beginning for the driven Kembe X, and he can do so much more with what he's built here.  He has risen above the hard situations in his childhood Chi stomping grounds, he has revved up his engines and he is just getting started in the rap race with T.B.

4 out of 5 stars

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