Published Feb 10, 2016With KXNG CROOKED working on the continuously teased upcoming Slaughterhouse album and Statik Selektah seemingly producing every working MC, their collaborative LP could've easily ended up as little more than a notch in each of their belts. Instead, Statik KXNG may be each performer's most complete work to date.
Those familiar with KXNG CROOKED (formerly known as Crooked I) won't be surprised to hear the Long Beach native rapping with a gargantuan chip on his shoulder. On the opening cut, "I Hear Voices" (and throughout the album), he makes it his mission to strip his critics of any spiteful ammunition, then follows it up with a braggadocio nod to '80s basketball and the pair's respective hometowns with "Magic & Bird." KXNG puts self-aggrandizing on the back burner to address institutionalized racism and gentrification on "Lost a Fan." Overall, KXNG CROOKED demonstrates a nicely balanced perspective that somewhat mirrors bandmate Royce da 5'9"'s on PRhyme.
Sonically, Statik KXNG diverges slightly from Selektah's patented scratch hooks and horn loops, but the LP's sound remains unmistakably his. The Bay State beatsmith dials back the DITC-influenced boom-bap just enough for KXNG to comfortably get busy. Indeed, some of Statik's ripest fruits, "Good Gone Bad" and "Dead or in Jail", are lessons in adaptability, with Crook deftly riding the latter's jazzy bass line.
Statik KXNG finds KXNG rapping with a mature sense of defiance rarely seen in his contemporaries, while Statik Selektah shows off a knack for moulding his beats to his collaborator, a trait few hip-hop producers manage to pull off. (Penalty Entertainment / ShowOff Records)