Kidz in the Hall Occasion

Kidz in the Hall Occasion
Occasion (the new album from Chicago, IL alt-rappers Kidz in the Hall) isn't bad, per se, but it is kind of a letdown. After releasing three excellent albums in a row, Occasion feels like more of the same, but not quite as passionate or engaged. The title track has MC Naledge sounding like a poor man's Kanye, while "She's Smokin'" is dull, poorly executed pseudo-R&B. Those are the album's lowlights, but they're bad enough on a release where most of the songs come off as background music. It's aural wallpaper; it's not offensive, but you don't really notice it either. Occasion isn't without highlights, but unfortunately for the Kidz, most of those come courtesy of the guest artists. Esthero lends her brand of spacey-pretty to "That Good," while Freddie Gibbs adds some much-needed sandpaper to "Player of the Century." Kidz in the Hall have a solid enough track record that they're allowed to release a mediocre album every so often, but they need to make sure that this is just a blip and not the start of a downhill slide. (Duck Down)