TDE brought me here. This summer there were rumors about two new mystery artists being signed to TDE. Eventually we found out that one of those two signees was Lance Skiiiwalker and the other rumored signee was fellow Chicagoan, Kembe X. I knew of Lance Skiiiwalker from previous work he had done with TDE, but I had no idea who Kembe X. My interest was piqued but after the dust settled, the rumors turned out to be false. Now that I think about it, it was most likely a publicity stunt, because his latest project, Talk Back just so happened to drop shortly after. Ah well, I’ll let the music speak for itself.
“Village eatin’ it’s a fuckin’ feast, have a fuckin’ seat
All my fans is hot because y’all been a fuckin’ sleep
I live a dream, you live a scene, feel me
Trying to fill the mold just like a fuckin’ sheep (Baaaa)
Formed your whole opinion off a fuckin’ tweet (stupid ass niggas)”
Right out the gate I can see why everyone believed he was the newest artist to the TDE lineup. His style would fit in perfectly with the likes of Kendrick, ScHoolboy, Jay Rock, and Soulo. The thing that all the TDE artists seem to share in common is their attention to the details and artistry they display, which is why it seems to take every project at least 2 years to finish. Talk Back shows that exact craftsmanship that elevates the music above the typical mixtape rap you hear today. The production on the album is phenomenal, often toeing the line between trap and chill, somehow managing to mix them together expertly. For example, “Loosie” has soulful singing and strings laying the background, but when the kicks start to hit they take what could’ve been a laidback affair to another level. “What You Say”, “10 Feet Tall”, “Talk Back”, “Young Nigga”, and “I Can’t Go” all fall into that same vein and make for some of the best tracks on Talk Back. Kembe shows he has a great ear for production and all the beats perfectly compliment his deep, raspy lyrics.
“Overdosin’ on that crystal ball
Check the method I don’t do no stretchin’, I blow through it all
Fuck a lot, and sleep a lot how I cope with it all
Footprints all over my bed, I dream I can walk it off”
If there’s one area where Talk Back comes up a little short is in the lyrical department. Kembe X is by no means a bad rapper, it just feels at times that he’s still trying to find his own style. His wordplay isn’t spectacular; most of the metaphors and punchlines (when they’re present) are basic at their best, and downright elementary at their worst. Talk Back doesn’t have a running narrative which only highlights his oftentimes generic rapping. Kembe does bring plenty of bravado to the table however, which manages to carry him through most tracks, just don’t come in expecting the next great lyricist and quoteables. It’s a shame really, because as I stated earlier, a lot of the production on Talk Back is top notch. In the end Talk Back is a great introduction to Kembe X and I’ll definitely be looking for his future drops, I just hope he manages to grow a little more lyrically and finds his own style.
Have you heard Talk Back? What’d you think about it? Do you think he has enough lyrically to stand out from the crowd? Let us know in the comments below and leave a rating. If you haven’t heard it, be sure to check out the link below.