[review]It took four years, but Canadian rapper k-os has finally released his long-awaited follow-up album to his 2009 success Yes! which peaked at number nine on the Canadian Albums Chart that year.
His brand new 19-song double album, entitled BLack On BLonde, was released at the end of last month, and features two sides: the “BLack” side and the “BLonde” side, each going in two different musical directions but forming one coherent record.
The album features a number of guest appearances including Emily Haines of Metric, Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes, Sam Roberts, Shad, Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979, Black Thought of The Roots, and even 1980’s pop star Corey Hart.
The “BLack” side carries an old-school hip-hop vibe and that classic k-os sound; however, it features some new electronic sounds as well as some heavier rapping in some songs. A track called “Spraying My Pen”, which features fellow Canadian rappers Shad and Saukrates, “smells and tastes like Toronto hip-hop” according k-os, as he said on a bonus commentary track for the website rdio.com. “Try Again”, featuring rapper Black Thought, combines both sides of the record with some heavy rapping along with heavy lyrics, but also features drums and a guitar riff, almost reminiscent of Eminem’s “Sing for the Moment”.
Disc 1 – BLack:
1. Like A Comet (We Rollin’) (ft. Corey Hart)
2. Diamond Sky
3. NYCE 2 KNOW YA
4. C.L.A (ft. Travie McCoy)
5. Nobody Else
6. One Time (ft. Emily Haines)
7. Mojo On
8. Try Again (ft. Black Thought)
10. Spraying My Pen (ft. Saukrates & Shad)
Meanwhile, the “BLonde” side of the album is rock influenced and features k-os not only singing, but also playing guitar, drums, and bass. This side comes across as experimental; however, it isn’t too far out of line of what you might expect from the Toronto-based rapper. A track called “Surf’s Up” that features Sebastien Grainger, sounds like a DFA 1979 track with a fast DFA-style drum beat and vocals from Grainger, but also has a classic k-os style verse which definitely has an original sound and makes for a great tune. “Don’t Touch” is a lighter reggae sounding song that features Sam Roberts playing guitar, that k-os says, was inspired by Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson”.
Disc 2 – BLonde:
1. The Dog Is Mine
2. Don’t Touch (ft. Sam Roberts)
3. Alone In My Car
4. Put Down Your Phone!
5. Billy Bragg Winners (ft. Jay Milanowski)
6. Surfs Up (ft. Sebastien Grainger)
7. Play This Game
8. Wonder Woman (As My Guitar Gently Streets)