Album Review | Kembe X – Talk Back

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This album was released on July 15th this year. I have no idea who Kembe X is. I know that he’s somehow affiliated with TDE, and there were even rumors that Top signed him at one point. That’s pretty much it tho. I don’t know anything else about him. Oh wait; I also know that he’s from Chicago. I’ve never heard any of his music before tho. I’m going into this album completely blind. I don’t even know what the reception for this project has been like. I guess I’m expecting it to be dope. People who are associated with TDE are usually pretty good, right? I guess I’m about to find out…

Track 1: Buried Alive (Prod. The Antydote)

Buried Alive

This beat is dope. He’s goin’ in now. He kinda sounds like Kendrick Lamar… Actually, no he doesn’t… Well, he KINDA does… I don’t know. For some reason the way his voice sounds kinda reminds me of Kendrick. His voice is a little deeper than Kendrick’s tho. The first verse was cool. It wasn’t amazing or anything, but it definitely wasn’t bad. The hook’s alright. It’s kinda boring. This is a slow start. It’s definitely not bad, but it’s about as low key as album intros get. The beat sounds like something Drake would’ve used for Nothing Was The Same. It’s very slow paced and kinda airy. The second verse wasn’t bad. I don’t know… I like the song personally, but I don’t know if I would’ve chosen such a calm, slow paced track for the intro. It’s kind of an underwhelming way to start the album. I like it tho. Nothing about it is really bad. However, if somebody heard this song and said that it was boring af, I’d understand. I fuck with it tho. It’s not super original or impressive or anything, but I enjoyed it personally. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 2: Carpenter (Prod. Bentley Hazelwood)

This beat is dope af. Okay, this song is a lot better than the first one in my opinion. He has way more energy on this one. He killed the second verse. The first verse was cool too. There’s not really a hook; it’s just a sample of somebody talking. I loved the way his flow progressed on the second verse. I don’t really think there’s anything wrong with this track. The structure’s pretty simple; it’s not really a super amazing song, but I enjoyed it. It’s definitely a step up from the previous track. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 3: Gino’s Disquisition (Prod. Bentley Hazelwood)

Umm… I guess this was just an interlude. It was just another sample of someone speaking for 2 minutes. I got pretty much nothing out of this. I didn’t really even like the production. It kinda just felt like a waste of time. I wasn’t really interested in what this Gino guy was saying. I mean, I agree that people who let trends determine how they live are kinda pathetic, but I didn’t really need to hear a 2 minute speech about it. It seems kinda early to be having interludes… I’m not gonna rate this track since it isn’t a song tho.

Track 4: Welcome To America (Prod. Bentley Hazelwood)

Welcome To America

Oh… I don’t think I’m gonna like this one… I’m not really feelin’ this beat. Oh shit… Never mind. I spoke way too soon. It gets better once the beat actually drops. The first verse was pretty dope. This is definitely the most energetic song on the album so far. It’s still not THAT crazy tho. On a scale of energy ranging from Lucki Eck$ to Desiigner, I’d say Kembe’s on par with 2016 Drake. Yes, his voice is slightly louder than usual, but it still doesn’t really seem like he’s excited about anything. Oh shit… The song… is over? There was just one verse? Hmm… This song sounds kind of incomplete. It’s literally just a single verse over some Trap inspired production. There’s not really a hook or anything. He does repeat “I want it, I want it, I want it, I already got it” at the beginning and end of the song. That’s pretty much it tho. I don’t think this is that bad of a song, but it does kinda leave something to be desired for me personally. It’s just barely 2 minutes. It feels like a rough draft of a song. It feels like another interlude. I wasn’t really feelin’ this personally. I definitely don’t think it’s bad, but I don’t really know if I’d call it a good song either. It’s just okay I guess. 3/5

Track 5: Squad Day (Work Week) [Prod. Bentley Hazelwood]

This song has more Trap inspired production. Oh shit. Alright here we go. This beat is crazy, and he killed that first verse. It wasn’t the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard lyrically, but it was definitely above average, and his delivery was dope. The hook’s alright. The way he starts it off by naming all the days of the week is a little corny. The second verse was dope. Hmm… I don’t really like this as much as I thought I was going to… The beat was dope af at first, but it got kinda old after a while. That’s pretty bad too, since this song is just barely under 3 minutes long. The verses were dope, but that hook, man… It was kinda corny. It’s just a typical song about “grindin’.” I enjoyed it, but I’m still not really blown away by anything yet. I enjoyed the song tho. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 6: Loosie (Prod. Hippie Sabotage)

This beat is dope af. The first verse was pretty cool. Oh. I just listened to the whole song. I enjoyed it, but I don’t really have a strong opinion of it. I really liked the production. The hook wasn’t bad. It’s a dope song. I just don’t really have much to say about it. This is probably one of the better songs on the album so far. It does feel kinda short tho. This is the fifth track on the album that’s under 3 minutes long. It sounds more complete than a lot of the other tracks, but it still ends kind of abruptly. There’s only one recital of the hook, and two verses. Pretty much every song on this album has had a really simple structure so far. I like this song tho. It’s dope. 4/5

Track 7: What U Say (Prod. Crooklin)

This beat is dope af. Alright, here we go; this is definitely the best song so far. His flow is really dope on this track. I love the way the production changes during the hook. The second verse was great. Oh there’s actually a third verse. This is one of the only songs on the album that sounds complete so far. Goddamn. He snapped on that third verse. I really fuck with this one. He went the fuck off on this shit. This should’ve been a single. I don’t have any problems with this one. It actually passed the three minute mark too. This song is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 8: Alive Feat. Roméo Testa (Prod. Bentley Hazelwood)

Oh shit… This beat is crazy. The first verse was very dope. Oh… I’m not in love with the electric guitar that comes in during the hook from Roméo Testa. The hook’s alright. I still really like the production, and Kembe X did his thing on the verses. I’m not really feelin’ this Roméo Testa guy tho… What the hell? The song ended… Man. These tracks are way too short for their own good. The first verse from Kembe X was great, but once the hook came on my enjoyment of this song plummeted. He only ended up spitting like a verse and a half. It just sounds incomplete. I’m not really feelin’ this one. I don’t think it’s a bad song, but it wasn’t that good to me either. It’s okay I guess. 3/5

Track 9: 10 Feet Tall (Prod. Bentley Hazelwood)

10 Feet Tall

Okay, all of the upcoming songs on this album are over 3 minutes long. Hopefully the length of these tracks won’t be a problem anymore. This beat isn’t bad. The hook’s alright. The first verse was cool I guess. The second verse was… It wasn’t bad. This isn’t a bad song. It’s just not really doing much for me. The beat is nothing special, and the hook lasts way too long. I also wasn’t in love with his flow on this song. It’s just kind of an underwhelming track to me. I’m not really into this song. It’s not that bad tho. I just don’t think it’s that good. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 10: Paper Feat. Zacari P & Alex Wiley (Prod. DJ Fu)

This should be good… Hopefully. I’m not super familiar with Alex Wiley, but I liked his work on 10 Day by Chance The Rapper. I’ve never heard of this Zacari P guy. This song is starting now. The beat’s alright. The first verse from Kembe X was cool I guess. I don’t know how I feel about his flow on that first verse. Zacari P’s singin’ on the hook. He sounded fine. Woah. Alex Wiley killed the second verse. His flow was fantastic. He did a great job on this song. I might have to check out his next project ’cause I really like what I’ve heard from him. I… I don’t know if I like this song tho… I really WANT to like this song, but I wasn’t in love with the production, and the hook lasted way too long. The only thing that really stood out on this song in my opinion was Alex Wiley’s verse. It’s a decent track, but I don’t think I’d ever have the desire to come back to it. It’s alright. 3/5

Track 11: Talk Back (Prod. Hippie Sabotage)

Talk Back

This beat is dope. I actually really fuck with this hook. The first verse was cool. It was a little short, but it wasn’t bad. This hook is really fuckin’ catchy. This is definitely one of the more sonically pleasing tracks. It actually kinda reminds me of Isaiah Rashad a little bit. The second verse was cool. Both of the verses on this song are really damn short tho. I enjoyed the song, but I probably would’ve liked it more if Kembe went in for a little longer. The music video was nothing special. I really fuck with this song tho. Even if the verses were too short, I think this song is great. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 12: Oxygen (Prod. Bentley Hazelwood)

This beat is actually really dope. The first verse was nice. This hook is pretty good. The second verse was cool. Woah… This outro is really fuckin’ cool. I love how the production kinda got darker. This song actually sounds complete. I don’t really know what else to say. I fuck with the song. I’m not amazed or anything. It’s cool tho. I enjoyed it. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 13: Young Nigga (Prod. Aaron Bo & Teddy Walton)

This song is labeled as a bonus track on Wikipedia. This beat sounds familiar… It kinda sounds like a cheaper version of 100 by The Game. Maybe it uses the same sample or something. I’m not in love with this hook. It’s not terrible tho. I definitely like his delivery on this first verse tho. He sounds like he has a lot more energy on this track. This hook is really underwhelming tho. He sounds bored on the hook. Almost like Drake. I wasn’t in love with the first verse lyrically. Oh, what? There’s only one verse… Man, these songs are just way too short for me. I guess this is another decent song. I don’t think I’d wanna come back to it, but I don’t think it’s that bad. It’s alright I guess. 3/5

Track 14: I Can’t Go (Prod. AK7RA)

I have to pee REALLY bad right now. I’m gonna hold it until I’m done with this album tho. This beat’s cool. I’m not really feelin’ this hook. Hmm… I’m enjoying this first verse, but why is his voice louder in the left side of my headphones? That’s annoying as fuck. I hate when the vocals aren’t properly balanced in a song I’m trying to listen to. The hook’s kind of annoying. I liked the first verse tho. He sounded good. However, I don’t know how I feel about this song lyrically… “Say she on her period / I put it in her colon.” Yeah… Nah… I’m not really into this song. It’s not that bad, but I don’t see myself returning to it. I might’ve liked it if the hook was better and the vocals were actually balanced. It’s a decent track I guess. It’s alright. 3/5

Final Thoughts:

This is an incredibly flawed album, but I still enjoyed it as a whole. However, I’m not completely sold on Kembe X. I think he’s definitely above average, but the strongest compliment I’m willing to give is “good.” I think he’s a good rapper. When the TDE rumors started floatin’ around, I saw people calling him “amazing.” That’s how the internet is sometimes. Everything’s a hyperbole on the internet. The most obvious flaw with this album is that the tracks just don’t last long enough. There are a lot of songs where I feel like he just didn’t rap enough. This whole album is about 40 minutes long. I’d be fine with that if every song here was stellar, but that’s unfortunately not the case. The production wasn’t horrible; it was pretty rough around the edges tho. It just felt like the overall sound quality was kinda cheap. There weren’t really any super wack songs tho. I did enjoy the album for the most part. It wasn’t the most exciting listen, but I got a good amount of decent music out of it. Hopefully his next project is a bit more polished. I liked the album tho. This is dope to me.

Favorite Song: Talk Back

Least Favorite Song: Alive




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