“Hip-Hop is dead” “Radio rap killed hip-hop”. I can’t front I used to be one of the people yelling these statements, while clutching my backpack playing Little Brother’s “Minstrel Show” for the umpteenth time. Now as I’ve grown older though, you learn that hip-hop will never die, there are just portions of the culture that don’t get the “numbers” of others. However to say hip-hop is dead is just not a smart statement anymore.
Artist Kenzie Tarantino sparked this feeling in me after listening to his EP “Red Daze”, while only about 15 minutes, Kenzie embodies multiple eras and schools of thought in hip-hop. “Red Daze” opens with “Caricatures” and it takes you right back to days of Wu-Tang, or the BoogieMonsters the second it drops. Tarantino has clearly studied the greats that came before him and at the same incorporates the catchiness of hip-hop today. His flow is smooth yet potent, I respect emcees that have can spit without having to rely heavily on swearing to get your point across.
Tarantino covers a number of topics but it all comes back to raw lyricism and respect for the craft. “What It’s Gone Be” is perfect for the whip and tracks like “Have To” is a call to action not just for us the listener, but for himself to get what is yours. In life we have to make things happen, waiting for the world to fall in place never works.
Coming in at a little less than 15 minutes this is just enough time for you to get a feel of what Kenzie brings to the table. I’m really interested to see what a full-length project from the Virginia standout would sound like. Kenzie Tarantino is more than just an emcee. He’s studied the craft and now he’s paying it forward in his art.