Plenty of artists have invoked the genealogical connection between hip-hop and jazz, but Kassa Overall is one of the few to try and dissolve the boundaries between them. The 12 tracks here—songs? compositions?—aren’t just syntheses of beatmaking and live playing or rapping and leftfield R&B. They’re examples of how using convention is sometimes the best way to break it: from the pitched-up vocals and cosmic cadenzas of “Ready to Ball” to the warped tango of “So Happy” (featuring Laura Mvula and Francis and the Lights) and the release of “Going Up” (featuring Lil B, Shabazz Palaces, and Francis and the Lights), all of which twist familiar musical vocabulary into unfamiliar sentences. The guests aren’t distractions or talent-by-association; they’re proof of his range. And the most surprising thing about the album is that it all makes sense.

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