Five Deez Kinkynasti

Anyone who heard Koolmotor from Cincinatti’s Five Deez probably wouldn’t deny it was an expansive and beguiling hip-hop excursion. However the eclectic musical sensibilities of Fat Jon the Ample Soul Physician, the group’s chief beat-maker, largely overshadowed the efforts of the group’s lyricists, himself included. On Kinkynasti — the group’s name for their hometown — this has been wholly rectified. Fat Jon’s production retains the esoteric sensibility that has appeared on several solo and side projects, yet he’s skilfully infused feel-good boom-bap and a healthy dose of bouncy funk, jazz and yes, disco influences harkening back to hip-hop’s block party origins. There’s a smooth sheen recalling vintage A Tribe Called Quest ("Another Love Affair”) and Slick Rick ("Hey Young World”) that’s invigorating and not cloyingly derivative. The MCs, Pase Rock, Kyle David and Fat Jon, have also noticeably polished and significantly upgraded their rhyme skills as the anthemic "Four Black Dudes” and the broken beat flecked standout "Tonight” aptly demonstrate. While they assail the notion they are "neo-soul gospel rappers” they also probe issues of love and life from a tangible everyman perspective although "Sextraterrestrial”’s unconventional theme of intimate relations with an alien is a notable exception. With its lyrical swagger and progressive body-rocking modus operandi, Kinkynasti is a cohesive and intelligently crafted affair that remains loose and carefree enough to retain and reinvigorate hip-hop’s celebratory aspects. (!K7)