Tuesday, October 28, 2008
**** 4 STARS - ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE
Two geeky hip-hop siblings who left New Orleans after Katrina and wound up in Los Angeles, the Knux draw their sound from astonishingly diverse precedents: OutKast and De La Soul, obviously, but also Fishbone, the Cars, Prince's Controversy, the Prodigy's big beats. What that hodgepodge adds up to is the year's best hip-hop debut.
The juxtapositions reveal a wit that runs decades deep. "Life in a Cage" name-drops Elvis Costello over a human-beatbox routine borrowed from the Fat Boys; "Roxxanne" defends its subject against the "misogynistic tone" of UTFO or the Police. By letting disparate elements compete for space, the Knux consistently build momentum. Incidental voices party in the background; heavy reggae bass lines underline heavy-metal guitars; electronic gurgles dance the mess around. Krispy Kream and Rah Al Millio play their own instruments, and for rappers so committed to rocking their music hard, they're remarkably adept at keeping it from ossifying into lead.
Wordy but never frantic, coolheaded but never bored, the Knux have no qualms about segueing an indelible single about guns into an even more indelible one about cappuccino. And "The True" addresses America's racial line from a vantage point Obama might relate to: "It's gotta be white, it's gotta be black, it can't be gray as a matter of fact." Life is complicated, they know. But it's also a blast.
*Pick up the LP on itunes and get the 'Cappuccino rmx' for 7.99
Pick up the LP on amazon for 7.99