You can’t write about underground or independent hip-hop and not write about King Draper. Or at least I seemingly can’t. For the past couple years the man’s been a nearly constant presence in my journalistic exploits. And now, I’m sitting down again to review his latest 11 track project, “1992”. The King hits me with dope music and I write about it, and I’m more than happy with the arrangement. If you’ve peeped any of King Draper’s projects before, what you get from this project won’t surprise you. Draper with his soulful, jazzy, production and his smart anecdotes detailing tales of life, love and from around the block. All while still reminding you that he’s better than your favorite rapper. King Draper continues his legacy of making consistently dope hip-hop music.
King Draper has always had a talent in storytelling, with his ability to build a plot and give soul to the characters, and these tracks are no different. He is often capable of conveying the seriousness of daily struggles but tells the story in a way the listener understands and still enjoys the track.
Of course it goes without saying that the production soundscapes set the tone perfectly for King Draper to go in. “1992” is quintessential hip hop from its sound to its sentiment and it’s not trying to add anything new or unique to the genre, rather, it’s trying to bring back the shine this genre once had. “1992” reminds one of exactly why hip-hop was so vital in the first place.
From the opening track, “Money Talks” (prod. by KR Beats), the Birmingham, AL rapper lays his skills on the table. It is simplistic in its premise but unquestionably real in its execution, and from there on out King Draper delivers a set of eclectic modern day tracks, which stay steadfast in their ode to the old school ways.
The instrumentals all feature beats that are littered with a slew of soulful sounds that aid King Draper in conveying a range of varying tones and subjects as we jump from track to track. And it doesn’t groovier or smoother than “Charlie Blue” (ft. Vick Jones) (prod. by Omari MC) and “Energy” (ft. Cutt Dogg) (prod. by Black Diamond Music).
King Draper has always had an absolute gift for painting pictures and it makes me so happy to know that he still has the ability to blow my mind with some fresh shit, like “Street Corners” (ft. Pollo Creed and Poet) (prod. by Yondo) and “Lost In Translation” (ft. Judah Morrison) (prod. by Origami).
In-between he still has the time to be fully melodic, as on “Politics” (prod. by Hoodzone), or totally confrontational, as on “Dead Homies” (ft. Damia West) (prod. by Origami). Another one of my favorite things about this acclaimed underground emcee is that all of his stories are so much more relatable than those of his numerous contemporaries and current colleagues. Something he showcases on the easygoing “Long Enough” (prod. by King Draper).
“1992” contains fascinating tales with an ample smattering of character building, setup, and dramatic plot points that will have you hanging on every word. This is exactly what I love to hear from a confident rapper and it offers a timely reminder of just how powerful the art of storytelling in hip hop can be when it’s crafted by a
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