Filed under: Album Reviews
King Sun emerged in the late ’80s as one of the foremost political/afrocentric MCs of the era whilst maintaining a hardcore edge (hence his second album title ‘Righteous But Ruthless’). Although I am not really aware of his earlier work, I consider this seven track EP to be a little known treasure that demands significantly more props than it has ever received. The beats are bangin’ and Sun’s rhyming ability is unquestionable. I have always thought that there is a similarity in his voice and delivery with Rakim; a bold comparison I know, but not one without some legitimacy.
The production on this release is straight up head nodding NYC boom bap. Particularly strong cuts for me are ‘Humm Deez Nuts’, ‘Once Upon A Time’ and ‘Robbin’ Of Da Hood’, but there is a consistency with the beats here that is rarely seen. Basslines rumble, the sample choices are simple yet effective and the snares are as crisp as autumn leaves in the park. This is not to say that it is faultless; although I am a bit of a sucker for the cheesy R ‘n’ B hook chorus, the vocals featured on ‘Humm Deez Nuts’ are a little hard to take, particularly in the adlib section towards the end of the tune. Still, this is a small gripe given the quality of the work in all other areas.
Generally I tend to focus on the beats when listening to hip hop, but King Sun’s flow is highly engaging and the content is varied, steering clear of stereotypical gangsterisms. From being ditched by his girlfriend for another man to ripping off local drug dealers in his community only to return the profits to those that need it most, Sun reflects on a ghetto lifestyle with intelligence and originality. I would be interested to see what others make of the Rakim comparison: there is something in his intonation and the timbre of his voice that instantly brought the legend behind so many classic cuts to my mind.