Album Review: Kurious – II (2009)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Potholes
I had a conversation with a friend in NYC a few weeks ago about how lately the Big Apple hadn’t done it’s share of producing noteworthy emerging MC-talent considering its being the birthplace of the art form and all. It’s not like the 5 Burroughs hasn’t got some skill—you can’t sleep on Mos, DOOM, Bronze Nazareth, Reks, and a handful of other cats who are doing their thing—but really NYC hasn’t had a cobra clutch on dominant young talent since the latter-1990s.
You just don’t hear cats making music that has that undeniable NYC sound (yeah Nas and Jay and Wu still hold it down, but the feel isn’t like it used to be because they aren’t hungry like that anymore). The city isn’t fostering new artists the way it used to—or maybe it’s just that there’s not as much drug money backing talented young dudes from the streets, the way a mess of classic albums got made back in the day, and radio wouldn’t support it even those joints were still getting made.
This dude Kurious is on some real New York shit, though. And his album II is tight. There are a couple joints on here that take me right back to a feeling that I haven’t gotten from hip hop music in a hot minute (although maybe you have to have come of age in the tri-state area in the ’90s to really understand that sentiment).
The album isn’t perfect. The track “Animals and Horses” has a beat that sounds like a neutered, muzak remix of El-P’s early Def Jux sound, while the title begs the question, ‘Isn’t a horse an animal too?’ And at times, the album also suffers from R&B interludes weighing down tracks like “Mysterious” and “Rain on Me”.
But “Sittin’ In My Car” will make you smile if you’re anything but dead, and after the hokey sung intro, Kurious drops a couple nice narrative verses telling stories about meeting a fine young lady, with a stylistic nod to Slick Rick. “Drinks in the Air” is pure summer barbecue music. It’s something that would make a few girls start dancing while everyone drank and grilled back in the day. And “Smiling” sounds like Fat Joe covering a De La Soul tune over an easy-grooving Ernie K. Doe sample.
In summation, this dude Kurious, who has been bouncing around since the mid-’90s, is somebody to keep an eye on. And this album has some real heat on it. There are some rough edges on it, too, but that’s also what’s real about this music.