Wednesday, October 22, 2014

These Kingston Times by Five Steez

     Jamaican born rapper, Five Steez, made his first appearance on The Under-Cover Album Review with his single "Deadly' which released back in July. Now, three months later, Steez releases the full-length project in which 'Deadly" appears on titled, These Kingston Times. 

     An eight-track album that's sound is very heavily influenced by the environment it was created in. Meaning that from the beats, to the lyrics there is a clear presence of the Jamaican culture, heck, the album is named after a city in Jamaica!

     The beats on the album have a very consistent and cohesive sound. Every track on the album is heavily infused with a reggae sound, but the head-nodding, hip-hop style drum kicks give this album a very unique feel to it, which really improves the listening experience. For the most part, all of the beats run at a slower tempo, which isn't a bad thing, just that at times, multiple songs may feel like they're one extended track. That being said, the exception to this slow-tempo production style is the previously mentioned track, "Deadly" as this is without question the best track on the album.

     Not too many knocks on the production, mainly because everything sounds very clean, pure, and natural. There is often the feel of live instrumentation to many of the tracks, and that is also a very nice touch for the project. These Kingston Times doesn't have any exceptional "it" factor in terms of it's production, but it has consistency, and that is truly an underrated quality.

     Listeners should be absolutely elated to know that Five Steez is truly a lyricist. Why should listeners be elated? Because it's exciting to hear an emcee from another country have genuinely good material. Many Non-American rhymers just see the artists on top of the charts and try to emulate that style, thankfully that is not the case with Steez, as he's been slated as the "Kinston Nas" which he mentions in the track "Night Streets."

     So what kind of lyricist is he? Well, his talent ranges around the very broad spectrum of styles, however, he seems to be a bit of a storyteller, which makes the tracks pretty interesting when you pay attention to his words. Steez drops wisdom all throughout this album, and he has a very natural delivery to his craft, making the slow tempo tracks have a bit of an eerie feel to them. Like the production work, Steez's lyrical content is consistent. That "it" factor previously mentioned may not be there to the majority of casual hip-hop listeners, though, I feel that many artists and true hip-hop heads will find his skill very strong and sharp, as he really is one hell of an emcee.

     While These Kingston Times may not have the "pop" factor that great albums do, it still has it's consistency and that makes this a very strong release. Sadly, this album will probably not reach as many ears as it should, but I have a feeling that those who hear it, will really enjoy it. It is a bit of a slower-paced, but the lyrical content fits well with the sound. There are a few blemishes throughout the album, but too few to even mention. This is a very solid release from Five Steez, and  hopefully there are even stronger releases set to release in the future. Give this album a listen and comment what you think!


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