If you’re like me, you know next to nothing about Milwaukee hip hop. Not that I’m unwilling to learn. It’s just that when I heard KHB was from Milwaukee, I was stumped to come up with another group from there. I’m sure stuff is happening, but little has made a national splash. However, KHB is changing that.
The four-man crew of Dana Coppafeel, Clark Beez, DNA, and DJ1L are seeking to make a statement, as is evident from the title of the EP. They were able to bring in some heavy hitters to lend some legitimacy to the project, with artists like Akrobatik, Crown City Rockers’ Rashaan Ahmad, White Shadow, Sadat-X, and EMC’s Stricklin’. I was worried that these guests might overshadow the group on their own record, but they hold their own. The production is also tight, carrying an urgent East Coast vibe to it, with plenty of funky jazz samples to go around.
There are two tracks, “Trakrobatik” and “Tribe Called Bastard,” that make the EP feel more like a mixtape, if only because they are as much defined by other artists than KHB. That said, they are still enjoyable. I just wonder if its going to hold them back in establishing their own identity.
With their rhymes, KHB definitely show that they’ve honed their craft by performing live. It’s evident by how well they trade off the mic. It also comes through with rhymes that recall battle rap, though unfortunately there are a couple of moments that they slip into some sexist metaphors.
My favorite song on the release is “Ma’Waukee,” which is their most personal effort and gives me a sense of their hometown. It features an descending bass line and a vocal sample that proclaims “They wanna be Wisconsin style!” paired with a sped-up female soul singer that’s really effective. What really makes it work though is the critical but celebratory depiction that the emcees give their hometown, painting a picture of “Southside barrios, Northside ghettos, Westside suburbs, Eastside hipsters.” This song more than the rest gives me hope that KHB is capable of some substantial records in the future.
For an introductory EP, KHB has done quite well. It’s not the best I’ve ever heard, but there’s plenty to like, and I feel like their best is still ahead of them.
|Title:||KingHellBastard - Remember the Name|