I’ve always been aware of Allan Kingdom but I never really gave his music a chance before. I heard a few songs in passing and just lumped him in with the rest of this new wave of trendy rappers that seemed to be popping up all over the place. But seeing him get that Kanye co-sign lent his work more credibility and highlighted that he may just be someone I needed to check out. That co-sign was perfect timing really, as he was gearing up for his major debut, Lines.
The Kid Cudi influences in his music are immediately apparent in hisproduction. It’s an eclectic, genre-blending mix of sounds that would’ve been innovative had it been released a decade ago. But thanks to artists like Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Travis Scott, and others it’s basically become the sound of modern hip-hop. That’s not to say that Allan Kingdom isn’t able to still carve out his own identity on Lines, because he does, with the exception of maybe “The Fusion”, which sounds the most generic out of the bunch. The majority of the songs here sound like original creations instead of cheap imitations. “Vibes” is an incredible song that fully embodies it’s title with an almost hypnotic rhythm, “Fuck My Enemies” has a great bounce to it, and “Leaders” makes fantastic use of the flute and honestly sounds like it’d be right at home on Cudi’s first Man On The Moon album.
“Is it a blessing or is it a, is it a curse, you know
I’m from the land of the lakes
I knew that she wanna fuck me and she fell in love when she saw me with Ye
I used to save all my shawtys, when I was a shorty I lost all the capes
Tony the Tiger but covered in apes
Back in the day no one thought I was great”
Allan Kingdom’s “rapping” is just as non-traditional as his production. He’s not a pure rapper and he’s definitely not the strongest singer either. Instead, much like a lot of these newer artists, he employs a sort of melodic rapping that works particularly well on this type of production. I keep going back to the Cudi comparisions because honestly they are a lot a like in many ways. He too comes off as an introverted eccentric that struggled with self-doubt and finding his place within his surroundings, and only through music does he feel the most comfortable and confident. Yet much of his songwriting still speaks of longing for connections. Lines may not be particularly groundbreaking but it is still a very strong major debut that manages to push the envelope of what is modern hip-hop that much more.
Have you heard Lines? What’d you think about it? How do you think it compares to the other modern “rap” popping up these days? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your own ratings and reactions to the album.
Allan Kingdom's major debut may not be particularly groundbreaking but it is still a very strong first offering that manages to push the envelope of what is modern hip-hop that much more. With shades of Cudi, he's got a bright future ahead of him.