Kid Ink – Almost Home EP review

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.

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Kid Ink – Up and Away album review

In the past year a new genre called “swag rap” made its way into the forefront. This type of music isn’t too much about the lyrical content, as it is about a hot beat coupled with an infectious hook. A “swag rapper” is usually identified by having a body covered in tattoos with some hip skater boutique clothing. Kid Ink fits this description exactly with his debut album Up and Away falling into the category of what I would consider “swag rap”. Kid Ink’s hype began when his mixtapes began to hit the blogosphere and the industry began to buzz about him. The shining spotlight really landed on Kid Ink when he was revealed as being a part of XXL’s 2012 Freshman class. His debut album was his time to raise his star and let it shine to show the world what this inked up artist was really about, but the star just ended up being pretty dull and unnoticeable by the album’s end.

The album begins with a bass heavy, synthesizer filled effort titled “No One Left”, the hook is contagious and will have you singing along by the time the track ends. The album continues with “Is It You”, which has a nice melodic beat that will capture you. This would have been a much better single than “Time of Your Life”, which doesn’t seem to be very memorable. As the album progresses, it becomes evident that the production is starting to sound pretty repetitious in each song. The constant bass and synths end up mashing together to one big hour long track that talks about clubs, women and liquor. The only stand out track from the bunch was the trunk rattling anthem called “Neva Gave a Fuck”, which features a sassy female voice repeating the word “bumping”.

Up and Away is fine to throw on if you are throwing a party and want to get a gyrating crowd going, but if you are looking for a memorable album with some kind of variety then this one can be passed on. Hopefully, for Kid Ink’s next effort he steps out of the box and uses some groundbreaking production to separate himself from the slew of other “swag rappers” that have appeared in the industry.