IamSu – Kilt 2 album review

The Bay area is most known as domain for uncut gangsterism and the game spitting exploits of E40, Too Short, and Spice 1 among others. There was also the short-lived Hyphy movement of the 2000s, but since that sound went underground, the national image of the bay has received a complete revamp of late. From internet/world/universe sensation Lil B, to the unexplainably captivating cultural appropriation of Kreayshawn and V-Nasty, the bay seems to have moved on from being about the pimp game to pimping the game. None of these artists threaten to last past a passing memory of novelty, and all seem to be fine with those stakes in the midst of their ironic, completely nonthreatening (and sometimes catchy) brand of threatening music.

That’s an all well and good scenario until artists like Iamsu! pop up and ruin the party. He has an image beholden to the Gucci Mane aping, chopping and screwing, catchy adlibbing Oakland ethos, but one listen to his Kilt 2 project and the only way “image” would get him by is if he was a nudist Rihanna lookalike. This is a project that exceeds at nothing but formula, from the stagnant Drake influence, to the painfully there punchlines, to the generic female tracks, this is the blueprint for 20teens hip hop, just ratcheted down 10x as far as actual quality or replay value.

From the outset, the project outlines its deficiency. Album intro “Father God” has him attempting to set a tone and announce himself with variant money boasts and nods to his tough upbringing, but he fails due to the bars not matching up to the out of place and extremely pretentious “bow your head, now let us pray” hook. The problem with this project is the frequency of moments his bars don’t match up for the attempted premises.

He attempts to make nods towards the carefree hipster generation, for instance “Hipster girls”, but in in the midst tries to tell a mini narrative of deceit and groupie love, then goes back to praising them, which leaves the listener untrue of his overall intent. The songwriting is sorely lacking, from the unfocused nature, to the absence of any memorable phrasing (aside from a borderline self-satirizing hook on “Float”). The project follows a formula of self aggrandizing with random observations and a formulaic hooks that feel like they’re to aware that they’re the song’s title.

The production here is sleek and glossy, but doesn’t offer enough emotively to carry an MC drastically in need of it. The album feels he took 17 swings at a buzz single, so by the time Iamsu! plainly references wanting blog sites to mention him, the die is cast on this project. It attempts to be many things, but the songwriting is not strong enough to make it much past generic.

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