The key to any great musician is progressionâ€”progression is what itâ€™s all about.
An artistsâ€™ music should always get better and not worse as the years go along and with their latest musical installment, Occasion, out November 22nd, Chicago based duo Kidz In The Hall, definitely have progressed.
Four albums in, emcee Naledge and producer Double-O arenâ€™t quite the guys who they were when they initially entered the scene.Â When listeners were first introduced to the duo, it was with their 2006 debut, School Was My Hustle, a project that penned tracks like, â€œGo Ill,â€ and the cheeky â€œMs. Juanita.â€
Now, five years later, itâ€™s almost as if the duo has graduated from the days of hustling and traded it in for a more confident, braggadocios and commercial sound.
Fans were able to see the project being created at Los Angeles Red Bull studios in their six-part series â€œHere Nowâ€ on MTV2 and the end result surpasses their last project, The Land of Make Believe, easily.
Â â€œThe album is by far our best work.Â All artists usually feel that way, but in my honest opinion our mental space wasnâ€™t as positive for the last album.Â We didnâ€™t rush this project and we made sure we had fun crafting it.Â Occasion is the soundtrack to letting oneâ€™s everyday problems go and focusing on the celebration at hand.Â Life should be a celebration.â€
This project, could potentially take Kidz in The Hall to a more commercial and mainstream level that they were never able to achieve minus, â€œDrivin Down The Block.â€Â The production on this project, for the most part is pretty goodâ€”pay special attention to â€œStar,â€ â€œBreak it Down,â€ â€œReal Life,â€ â€œSheâ€™s Smokin,â€ â€œPour It Up,â€ and â€œWont Remember Tonight.â€ Naledge develops more as an emcee, however, this project doesnâ€™t sound too Kidz in The Hall like, kind of more Kanye West-ish or something of that sort.
With that being said, some of the great tracks on the album start with the pop like, â€œThe Good,â€ featuring Esthero, which makes for a pretty cool collaboration.Â This track works as essentially the 2011 â€œLove Hangover,â€ featuring Estelle from their sophomore album, The In Crowd.Â This production on this album is a little on the melancholy side and only fits the overall tone of the track. The simplicity of the chorus, â€œin case you havenâ€™t noticed, I wanted you to know that, I love you,â€ not to mention the sweet verses, â€œI never miss her call, I miss her when sheâ€™s gone.Â Never need the lights on just to turn me on fiending on her touch.Â Maybe, you can smell me, she can be the one nothing you can tell me,â€ all make for a great crossover song.
â€œMake It Up Tonight,â€ â€œCrash Dummyâ€ featuring Killa Kyleon, â€œSheâ€™s Smokin,â€ and â€œPlayer of The Year,â€ featuring Freddie Gibbs are all cool tracks as well. Naledge flows seamlessly over these tracks, not to mention the production on these tracks are all dope as well.
â€œStar,â€ and â€œWonâ€™t Remember,â€ however, are probably the two most noteworthy tracks on the album.Â Letâ€™s just say, the production on these two tracks are both great and are easily the marriage of great collaborations, and tracks that would sound amazing live.
First, â€œStar,â€ featuring Tabi Bonney and One Chance, I will admit definitely caught me my surprise.Â Iâ€™ve always felt that One Chance was kind of corny (Iâ€™m not big into boy bands minus B2K, and NSync) and Tabi Bonney were kind of cornyâ€”which I admit, Bonney is wearing me down these days. (I often used â€œIn The Pocket,â€ as a reference to the corny factor} However, them on this track is cool.Â This is actually the theme song for the Kidzâ€™ series.Â The track is a celebration, which is followed by the big band track, â€œWonâ€™t Remember Tonight,â€ featuring Ms. Marsha Ambrosius and Anthon Genius, another definite highlight.
The last track on the album, â€œI Swear,â€ features a vocal sample that flows through the beat, and is sure to be a big song.Â Listening to this song, you see the potential that Kidz have on a bigger scale.Â Overall, as a fan of the duo since the beginning, I feel like a proud mother watching my children blossom into adults.Â No, I donâ€™t necessarily like every track on this album, however, I think that just gives me something to look forward to for the next project.Â I was a little skeptical about this project just because I read that it was a more mainstream and commercial project from them, however, I am just glad that perhaps more people will get why I like them.
As an added bonus to this long winded review, I was asked why I liked Kidz in the Hall and was then challenged to write a list of my 10 favorite tracks from them, so hereâ€™s the list in no particular order. Pre-order Kidz in The Hall Occasion, here.
- Love Hangover featuring Estelle, The In Crowd
- Ms. Juanita, School Was My Hustle
- Luciferâ€™s Joy Ride ft. Travis McCoy, The In Crowd
- Mr. Alldatshit ft. Donnis and Chip Tha Ripper The In Crowd
- Inner Me, The In Crowd
- Dumbass Tales, School Was My Hustle
- Day By Day/ We Almost Lost School Was My Hustle
- Go Ill, School Was My Hustle
- I Am (Reprise) Land of Make Believe
- 10. Â Dream on Ft. Smoke DZA & CURT@!NS Semester Abroad