At least LA Artist Kid Ink is straightforward about his blandness. In an era where image can be everything, he assumes a moniker that pretty much explains he’s firmly beholden to the ethos of the heavily tattooed, social media obsessed corner of Hip-Hop, where no one tattoo matters as much as the fact that you have some, and no one song matters as much as the fact that you’re a rapper.
There’s tremendous poetic justice in a person being named for imagery being so nondescript that he probably needs those tattoos for anyone to remember who he is.
From listening to his Almost Home EP, you could infer that Kid Ink is a poor man’s Tyga (who’s a poor man’s poor man’s Lil Wayne) who somehow doesn’t manage to have the majority of solo tracks on a 6 track EP. He apes the bouncy flow Meek Mill and Ace Hood have firmly laid claim to on the entire project and bounces around mindless word association (sampled: “I hope you know how to swim before I drown you in money”) with all the charisma of a janitor mopping a floor. He raps like it’s his job, and he doesn’t really want to do it, the irony being Hip-Hop is an entirely voluntary occupation.
From the outset Kid Ink falls back into the foggy, melodic backdrop and lets it carry him throughout the project. The beats are vibrant and complex throughout, with spinning hi-hats and stuttering snares machinating under the lush synths. It’s the exact type of teasing production that makes you think how much better it would be with actual lyricism on top of it. In the sonic aspect Kid Ink succeeds, yet lyrically he just doesn’t deliver anything unique or at least charismatic.
Even in the midst of having formulaic content one can still employ enough character to be a decent listen at times, many fan favorites have mastered that exact idea. “Bossin Up” for instance is almost saved by the energy (and not much else) of French Montana and ASAP Ferg. Ditto “Bad Ass” with Meek Mill and Wale. The four aforementioned artists succeed because while not always on their Ps and Qs lyrically, they know what they have and how to work it.
“Fuck Sleep” is a fairly generic”grind” anthem where Ink states money over everything “cause I got a lot of bills and nobody gonna pay them but me”. That doesn’t sound like anything resembling am athemic hook, it sounds like someone interviewing at burger king. Any semblance of an “-Ism” or redeeming quality would have made this worthy of a second listen. The bar isn’t raised that high for the Hip-Hop twittersphere, but Kid Ink still didn’t manage to meet it.