This extended play was released on August 15th this year. Over the past couple years, I’ve been familiarizing myself with a lot more underground MCs, and K-Beta is probably the one I speak to the most. I occasionally worry that I might be biased when covering his shit since we’re pretty much friends at this point, so I think that should be worth noting. I just had to put that disclaimer in there. With that said, if he does some wack shit I’ll be honest about it. No disrespect of course. I’m not just tryna be on his shmeat constantly though. We keep it real here at Focus Hip Hop. Anyway, his upcoming collaborative album with DJ J-Scrilla was originally supposed to come out in August if I’m not mistaken, so when it was pushed back to October 30th, K-Beta kept his fans fed with this EP. I think he said himself that he doesn’t love this project as much as some of his others, but I may be thinking of See You in Hell, Coward. He’s kinda shitted on that project a little bit in some of our conversations. That shit is dope though, so check it out if you haven’t heard it yet.
I pretty much went into this project knowing I would enjoy it to some extent, but to be completely honest I was caught off guard as soon as it started. That intro was way better than I was expecting it to be. I’m almost positive that my jaw actually dropped. I’m pretty sure it did. Grussle‘s production on this joint is absolutely gorgeous. That vocal sample is fantastic. It kinda sounds like something that could’ve shown up on Logic‘s very first album to me. K-Beta murdered this shit too. He rapped throughout the entire track, and he fuckin’ snapped.
Chinese water torture
Slow drips exposin' hidden agendas and motives
Noses open, a known odor don't fail
To arouse you to wanna float over the dope grails
Trails travelin' behind your
Eye movement, it looks sicker than a eyesore
Like a war veteran, his mama would've never known
How it hurts, first in the line for the methadone
I’m always hooked whenever rappers are able to paint vivid depictions of addiction. ScHoolboy Q & Isaac Zale usually pull that shit off pretty well too. I think the song is dope as hell. I love the production, and K-Beta’s flow, lyricism, and vocal delivery are all on point. It’s fire. The following track, Get Around, is even better. Once again, I was completely enthralled by the production from Grussle here. I really love how hard hitting the percussion on this track is. The vocal sample he chopped up is really cool. For a second I thought he sampled that famous “OOOH MY GOD” vine, but I think it’s something different. Anyway, from a lyrical perspective, this track almost feels like a Horrorcore song. It’s not one of those inordinately edgy shock-porn Horrorcore tracks though. It’s just kinda spooky.
I thought it was a bad dream, at the door of Death's residence
Death wanted me to be sure, and left evidence
Never one to easily fall, make it a rough night
Tracin' the slug's flight, I'm a take it in blood typa nigga
Tryna live the life the kid'll wanna
Perhaps pattern his after, I did it under pressure
A provocation, I found my way in
With a little bit of luck and a lot of patience
The “OH MY GOD” vocal sample really works well with this song. I feel like that sample comes in whenever the story gets more chaotic.
Saw myself sinkin' as if I was trapped in Goin' down with the ship of which I wasn't the captain
Part of me feels like he’s still rapping about addiction, but just on a more metaphorical level. If not, it’s still a cool way to interpret the song in my opinion. All those lines I just quoted are just from the very first verse too. He was spazzing like that throughout the whole track. There are zero filler bars. I don’t know how long he usually takes to write a verse, but this sounds like some shit he rewrote over and over again just to make sure every line was hitting. I love it. The song is dope af. It’s followed by 10-43. The opening verse is performed by an MC I’d never heard of prior to listening to this project named LOOKLIK3L33K. The way his verse started kinda threw me off on my first listen just because of the way the beat kinda cuts out and then restarts. There’s probably a better way of wording that, but I’m a little too tired to explain more. It’s not a big deal though because I didn’t find it as jarring on my repeat listens. He sounds a lot younger and less seasoned than K-Beta, but I still enjoyed his performance. His flow kinda took me a second to get into, but I was satisfied by the time he was done. He was able to keep me interested lyrically too. It was a cool verse. In terms of the production, I wasn’t really super impressed by this track. There are some aspects of it that I do love though. I think the hard-hitting percussion is great, and the way K-Beta incorporated that sample of Buffy the Human Beatbox was really cool. K-Beta’s actual verse was great too.
I'm down with Father Divine, drama designed to disturb
Today's state of affairs: K-Beta declared dead
Self-inflicted bullet wound infected
Paramedics amazed the once-dead has been raised
It’s far from my favorite track on the project, but I definitely enjoyed it. It’s a good song. It’s followed by Burnin’, which is another highlight for me. It sounded very familiar to me at first, so I was a bit confused, but then I remembered that I actually heard it around the time that the EP dropped. I really dig Grussle’s Reggae influenced production here. It’s really the sung hook from Akshan that pushed this shit to the next level though. That motherfucker KILLED that hook. That shit is catchier than fuck. That’s easily my favorite hook on the whole album. As a matter of fact, that’s one of my favorite hooks of the year, and probably my favorite hook on any of K-Beta’s projects. It’s so fucking good. I love it. The rapping from K-Beta was cool too I guess. Just kidding, he killed it as well. The religious content was actually super interesting. I feel like I haven’t really heard any other MCs take this approach to religious lyricism. He kinda lays out the history of Satan, which is really cool.
Lucifer the Devil, notorious
Out of all angels he was the most glorious
Admired and adorned, champion among peers
In the kingdom of heaven where sin wasn't feared
And had not even appeared, some would have us believe
That original sin occurred with Adam & Eve
And the bible corroborates
It is not made known what the devil did that God wouldn't tolerate
Generations have hellishly abhorred
This fallen angel, jealous of the lord
He wanted to be in charge, dissension in the system
Divided angels, took a third of them with him
Everything about the song is superb, and it’s easily one of my favorites on the project. The following track is another highlight called K-Beta Vs. Seez Mics. As you hopefully guessed from the title, it’s a collaboration with Seez Mics, who I actually just recently became familiar with. He’s a Strange Famous Records artist who put out an album last November. I haven’t gotten around to listening to that one yet, but it’s on my list. My back-catalogue is ungodly. Anyway, I really love the production on this track. It’s really just the percussion that sells me on it to be honest. It sounds like a damn train. It’s just got this infectious energy to it. It’s a very fast paced instrumental. Well, it doesn’t actually even sound that fast. I think it’s also the tone of the other instruments. It’s a very upbeat sounding track. The bass that comes in once K-Beta starts rapping adds a lot too, and he of course slaughtered this shit.
My upbringing was gut-wringing and nothin' soft
That's why nowadays, bullshit, I shrug it off
I was aloft on a decorated shit-cloud
Anosmic to the smell around as I sit proud
That’s my favorite quatrain in his verse. I love how he ended it with that #DicksOutforHarambe reference too. The second verse from Seez Mics was also phenomenal. However, his voice sounded too low in the mix. It was kinda hard to hear him at certain points. His flow and rhymes all sounded glorious though. The song is dope as hell. The following track, To the Rhythm, is another contender for my favorite track on the project. I think it definitely has my favorite beat on the whole EP. I love how dark, yet melodic this instrumental sounds. For whatever reason it puts me in the same mood as Corey Hart’s famous Sunglasses at Night single. K-Beta’s delivery here is phenomenal too. He sounds awesome on this track. I think the content of his verse matches the atmosphere of the instrumental perfectly, and his flow was dope as hell. The song features two other MCs with whom I wasn’t familiar prior to listening, but they both really impressed me. The second verse is performed by Grynd, who really spazzed. Her flow and breath control were remarkable. The final verse from Skillz Ferguson was really nice too. I really like how gruff his voice sounds. Overall, I think the song is amazing. There’s not a single aspect of it that I don’t like. It’s dope af. Track 7 is called What’s Up, OT? I remember K-Beta telling me he was thinking about using OT as one of his aliases, and we spoke about how O.T. Genasis beat him to the punch. I don’t know what O.T. stands for in O.T. Genasis’ name, but K-Beta is using it as an acronym for Old Timer, which makes sense. Anyway, this song has another one of my favorite beats on the whole project. That Grussle dude is a beast. I love K-Beta’s production, but he’s got some stiff competition. Grussle dropped a remix version of K-Beta’s STUFF EP, so check that shit out if you haven’t yet. Anyway, from a lyrical perspective, this is K-Beta basically explaining how he got his shit together, cleaned up his act, and pretty much grew up while he was in jail.
Didn't wanna have to look frozen, bangin'
Hang my head as the gates of hell close with a clang-a-lang
Dead to the free world, thinkin' about
How I was always wrong, and yet never in doubt
This man knows how to write, man. Every verse is super descriptive. It’s like everything he says just hits. I’m never lost.
It holds true, everything your told through
The years of resistance appears in the distance
Near the end of my rope I approached a hump
And over the hill is a little too close for comfort
The hill is relative to this bein' halfway
This could be the place in which I'm livin' out my last days
The face of regret reflects harshly
Mild case of arrest set to my chest sharply
For whatever reason, I feel like I actually haven’t heard that many rappers describe what being in jail is like. Nas did it on Last Words, but I can’t think of any other examples at the moment. I’m sure plenty of rappers have made music about what jail is like, but it’s just kinda slipping my mind at the moment. Anyway, I love the song. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is called For My Folks, and it’s yet another major highlight for me. I love the celebratory sounding instrumental on this track. It just sounds really cheerful. I added this shit to my happy playlist. As much as I love and appreciate sad music, it always feels even more special when I can add something to my playlist of joyful material. As the title indicates, this song is dedicated to all the loved ones in K-Beta’s life. Lord Betta absolutely slaughtered that first verse too. That’s definitely my favorite feature on the album. With every single K-Beta project I’ve heard, there’s always one feature who really stands out, and on this one it’s definitely Lord Betta for me. His flow and rhymes were so fuckin’ smooth.
I'm a one of a kind like a fiery lotus This spirit, body & mind will set fire to torches With the fam squadded up in the fortress eatin' swordfish My woman fine as fuck, and all of my children gorgeous Glory be to god, I'm thankful & fortunate For the opportunity, the time & space to record it
K-Beta of course killed that second verse too. His flow was phenomenal. The closing verse is performed by an MC named Mr. Yesindeed, who also had a really great performance. His voice kinda reminded me of Common mixed with a little bit of Cyhi the Prynce. Overall, it’s one of my favorite tracks on the project. I think it’s dope af. The final three tracks are remixes of songs that appeared on the aforementioned STUFF EP. All of them have been reproduced by an artist name David Blevans, whom I’d never heard of before listening to this project. The first one is a remix of D.T.L.R. 2. I definitely think Blevans’ piano-driven instrumental here sounds way less dusty and has more emotion in it. It’s a dope beat. I just wish the vocals weren’t buried in the mix. The beat itself is definitely what he wanted people to focus on because it’s much louder than the actual rapping. I never felt like it completely drowned out the vocals though. I feel like the dramatic tone of this instrumental actually works really well with the content of the song. I actually prefer this version over the original to be honest. The mixing kinda threw me off at first, but I didn’t even notice it after a few seconds. Since I’d listen to this over the original, I definitely consider it a success. The next track is a remix of Step, which was a major highlight for me on STUFF. I gotta give it up to David Blevans though. This beat is fire. I genuinely can’t decide which one I like more. It’s tough because I really love that original beat as well. I think I gotta go with this one though. I love how slow-paced, yet hard-hitting it is. I had the coveted involuntary head-nod throughout the entire track. This shit is dope as hell. The closing track is a remix of my favorite song from STUFF, Triclops. To this day whenever I hear that song I am blown away, so obviously this remix had some giant ass shoes to fill. Personally, I think I would take the original song over this remix, but that’s not to say this one isn’t good either. You really can’t go wrong with either track. It’s just a personal preference for me. I just really like the more fast paced, Go-Go inspired percussion of the original version.
This is actually my favorite K-Beta project now to be honest. I think this shit is borderline amazing. I really don’t have a single consistent gripe. This shit got me really excited to hear more work from Grussle, and I was introduced to a shit ton of really dope artists through the features as well, which I can always look forward to from a K-Beta project. K-Beta is still a beast on the mic. He’s one of those guys who you can rely on to always deliver a well-written verse. He says interesting shit. He’s not boring. He keeps me interested in what he’s saying. He knows that he’s doing. His production has been steadily improving with each project too. He’s been rapping for decades, but he’s relatively new to the art of production, so hearing the growth in that department has been really dope. I almost don’t know what to say just because I have no real complaints. Do not sleep on this EP. He’s dropping his album with DJ J-Scrilla at the end of the month, so if you wanna get a taste of his style be sure to give this a listen before that shit is released. This shit is super dope. Listen to it. I’m telling you to listen to it. Do it. There’s not a single bad track here. Do what I tell you to do. Listen to this EP, and tell me what you think of it.