KnowledgeΔustin’s music isn’t just a celebration of diligence and endurance; it’s about knowing where you’ve come from and loving your community. He has experienced major growth since his debut and each project he released since has documented his evolution into a more energetic and confident rapper. Hip Hop has always been a diverse genre where marquee artists proselytize about the human condition. For all of the negativity surrounding the genre, the biggest artists of this generation have been more willing to take musical risks than their pure pop contemporaries. It is somewhat ironic then, that the genre slated to signal the decline of American society seems to be the only mainstream music that speaks to what is happening in the world. Perhaps, more so than anything else, the current shift in urban music is to make cohesive albums again. The tricky part, however, is in the execution.
Luckily for him, KnowledgeΔustin is a writer, producer and performer. Hence the Florida creative is able to cover all angles with his own personal perspective shining through. He has though, allowed a few features, like Bil, Roy McBean and Yvng Pharoah to join in on the project. Breaking onto the Rap/Hip-Hop scene requires a certain level of motivation and drive, different than other genres of music.
A difficult task, but KnowledgeΔustin makes it clear from his humble beginnings in Sarasota, FL that he has exactly what it takes to make it to the top of the mountain. Actually he already proved that with the release of “Hip-$oul”, this album is just an ulterior confirmation of that fact.
“Chapter III: The Lake” seeks to push past the boundaries of one size fits all style genre. Overall, this is a well-rounded album full of deep emotion delivered in street packaging. Exploring different scenarios and situations, lusty and heavy beats combined with wider ranges and verses presented within smooth soulful grooves make it a potent piece of work.
At first glance, the album’s mood is deceptively dark and rough. However, fans will find messages of hope and resilience throughout. The album rolls in on a relaxed vibe on “Sacrilegious (Feat. Bil)” before building in intensity.
The raw lyrics give strength and hope in a world filled with struggle. Next up is the dark and edgy “December (Feat. Roy McBean)” which is full of resolve while having modern nuances mixed in with older simplicity found on many Hip Hop classics.
Continuing with collaborations, Yvng Pharoah appears and leaves his mark on “Eastside”. Once again reaching for updated sounds meshed together, the track is a really solid work of art. Up next is the warping “Island”, built on a jazzy guitar tone with a frustrated drum beat. There is slower pace which relies on the vocals to emphasis the vibe.
Going back to a vintage styling, “Weed X Alcohol” plays out like a midnight writing session at a recording studio, before we settle into one of the album’s standouts, “U (Somethin’ To Tell)”. What the listener should pay attention to on this track is how KnowledgeΔustin adapts to the gradual switch between beats-per-minute and melody.
The best thing about “Chapter III: The Lake” is that KnowledgeΔustin is still himself. He didn’t morph into a gangsta caricature or withdraw into his inner core to become an insecure emo rapper. He sticks to his style, steps up his game, gets us up-to-date on his journey, bringing forward more of the person he truly is.
This ultimately creates an album with just as much substance as it has shine. And shine it does, with the closing tracks, “What’s Real” and “Self Inflicted”.
This is the rapper’s best release to date. The project is everything you’d expect from the Florida native, catchy songs full of his probing introspection and smooth instrumentals. This is definitely a career defining moment for KnowledgeΔustin. Now, let’s see where he takes it from here.