The Night's Gambit

The Night's Gambit

A hip-hop veteran hailing from Brooklyn's Brownsville neighborhood, KA got his start in the early '90s with underground favorites Natural Elements. In recent years he's made a major comeback, releasing several high-quality, self-produced albums that have won him props from such disparate sources as Okayplayer, NPR, Rolling Stone, and Pitchfork. Rocking a distinctly raspy, almost-whispered flow, he lays down an advanced assortment of autobiographical rhymes that address his appreciation for true hip-hop ("Off the Record"), nightly shenanigans in the city ("Knighthood"), and the inevitabilities of middle age ("Our Father"). As with last year's excellent Grief Pedigree, the beats here are extremely understated and minimal: just sparse drums sprinkled with darkly atmospheric loops to set the mood. Roc Marciano lends a hand on "Soap Box," but other than that it's all KA, delivering a low-key avalanche of storytelling verses that also touch on chess, religion, and the sometimes grim realities of BK.

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