A Kid Love, beta is the debut album from the young rapper/producer (and part-time skater) know:Juander. From the jump, know:Juander makes is known where the album is headed. “Memories” is an fine creative start to an album of introspective investigation – looking back at his own life leading up to the present – and then looking forward, trying to establish a lucrative (yet wholesome) future. The tracks are refreshingly personal, some detailing exact stories of childhood strife, familial bonding, and falling in love, which makes it clear that know:Juander at least has his head in the right place, and understands a great deal of what makes compelling song topics. “Pause That Tape” is a slightly harrowing account of struggle and past events gone wrong, laced over a soft piano track that beautifully fits the back-in-time narrative.
What’s more impressive about this album is that it is entirely know:Juander, save for a guest appearance from Jarell Perry on the closing cut, “Determination”. In addition to rapping, he handles the entirety of the production and mixing, which may actually be the strongpoint of the album. Fraught with a blend of vocals, pianos and horns, know:Juander slips in sample after sample from mellow soul and jazz joints, adding to the meditative vibe of the whole album. There is a very nice flow from track to track and the album, for the most part, plays out in a logical manner.
However, just as with most beginner albums, there are flaws. The opening skit “Memories”, as mentioned before, is a nice introduction of the thematic elements to come; however the album could do without “The Love Beta Interlude”, which falls about halfway through the album. And during this track, the content and concept of A Kid Love, beta is verbally spoon-fed to the listener, thus taking away any thrill or mystery of allowing the listener to figure it out independently. Furthermore, the album as a whole hints at the extremely raw nature of this emcee. Sure, he has bright ideas, but there is much room for improvement in the flow and delivery departments. And his rhymes, which are fairly simple, would greatly benefit from a heavy dose of creative innovation. All in all, A Kid Love, beta is a decent release from a raw artist who has potential to make a nice name for himself someday.