KXNG Crooked pens emotional letter defending Eminem's "Kamikaze" from critical scorn.
For those who follow KXNG Crooked on Twitter, you already know the man is passionate about the art of lyricism. In fact, he often engages with fans and followers with open questions, many of which tackle classic albums, bars, and moments in hip-hop history. To call him a student of the game is an understatement; he has long since graduated to professor. In any case, Crook had much to celebrate when Em dropped Kamikaze over the weekend, an album which found him spazzing like a man possessed. Those appreciative of lyricism had much to praise about Em's latest, though once again, many critics seemed more preoccupied with tearing the legend down.
Crook messaged DJ Booth back with an extended response, writing:
Give me a DJ, an emcee, and a crowd. That's it.
As the DJ is spinning break beats, the emcee is saying the most incredible rhymes the crowd has ever heard. That's the essence. That's what needs to be protected at all costs. It's as important as the vibe, the impact, the sales.
A kid who is falling in love with the art of rapping has to know that clever punchlines are good but finding a way to put those lines in rhyme patterns that locate brilliant pockets in the beat is golden. This is what we have to protect and preserve in this ever-changing environment.
Rap has been under attack from musicians in other genres since its birth. Now people within its own community are attacking quality rap just like the outsiders do and have done.
Why is it so unpopular to be a master wordsmith?
Rap songs are able to express hundreds of ideas in three minutes. No other form of music can achieve this. Expressing these ideas through complex rhyming that includes metaphors, different cadences, punchlines, double entendre usage and rhythm always deserves the highest praise. The next generation has to know this. Just like they know a catchy repetitive hook may attract mass appeal.
Although I enjoy countless simple rap songs, I will never remove Jedi-level rhyming off of its pedestal. If I'm reviewing an album and I only focus on the genius elements of the emcee’s technique for two sentences, I have failed. The emcee is owed more than that. It's extremely difficult to construct verbal pyramids consistently throughout a project.
Even more difficult to do in a climate where it's not appreciated.
Clearly, Crooked is for the culture, and continues to hold it down for the artform. In truth, Eminem's Kamikaze deserves respect, though many critics have openly harboured grudges against Eminem before. Hopefully Em can understand that the people are feeling his latest effort, and appreciate his spontaneous return to the game.