Kaigen Re: bloomer

Coming off a U.S. tour with Ceschi and RickoLus, Japanese rapper Kaigen comes into his own with Re: bloomer, an album steeped in collaborations with American rappers and producers. Jel, Thavius Beck, Ras G and Australian rap group, and frequent collaborators, Curse Ov Dialect provide progressive beats that are musical and never noisy, but just generally bang hard. Highlights include the glitchy, minimal "Primitive Planet" and sometimes glitchy "Fiddling While the Industry Burns?," both of which undergo almost constant transformations, as well as the fun, whistle- and banjo-dominated "Whistle in the Tailwind." These and much of the rest of the beats are a great match for Kaigen's politically charged, high-speed raps. And now that he's building a larger audience outside of Japan, he includes an English translation of his lyrics, revealing intelligent, well-written songs that paint an ugly picture of our world. Speaking of which, it's no surprise that Sole stops by (not even for two songs though), as the two have a prior history of collaborating and share a common worldview. Also welcome are conspiracy freak Orko Eloheim, fast-flowing rapper/singers Myka 9 and Ceschi, and Shapeshifters Awol One and 2Mex. Whether the English language guests and translated lyrics will be enough to entice North American audiences remains to be seen, but there's a great deal to be appreciated for those willing to make a bit of an effort. (Poetic Dissent)