Tag Archives: LP

Album Review: DRK – Retroverted Propulsion

17 year-old Dylan Kulmayer released his first album last week, here’s what Dom Kureen thought of the American born, Isle of Wight based rapper’s debut LP.

Dylan KulmayerDestined to hook hip-hop fans tightly from the start, the debut album of 17-year old Dylan Kulmayer (aka: DRK), Retroverted Propulsion, leaves little debate as to from whom the major artistic influence has been acquired, with later references confirming that Eminem was a pivotal inspiration in the diction development of the talented native of Virginia, USA.

That acknowledged, this is far from a parody of ‘Slim Shady’, with the storied evolution of a fresh, cerebral orator progressing over the course of seven singles and three skits.

The first prominent feature of the album is in its slick production, something that sets it apart from a gaggle of other Isle of Wight compilations and speaks volumes for the dedication the rapper has to his craft.

Better still, in the shape of the decadent Highschoolhood the LP has a ready made hit. An engaging tune provides strong foundation for DRK to work with, nevertheless it is the energy of his wistful frustration at perceived creative castration from a stifled academic system that most compellingly engages the audience.

Lyrically even that Tour de Force is marginally trumped by the brutally honest, undoubtedly cathartic To Be A Success, a track fuelled by pop-culture references, directly affecting society and, as a consequence, the artist.

It is easy to forget that DRK isn’t long off the teat when getting lost in the lyrics of ‘Training Day.’ One inspired burst reveals: “I’m Nostradamus, not predicting comets, but approximating my chance of making it as an artist.”

So lyrically tight is the majority of the album that it does necessitate a few listens to truly gather in all the information and appreciate the relentless unloading – not that this is a negative, with the catchy landscape of the melodies another facet in common with Mr Mathers’ embryonic solo output.

Max Lyrical
DRK will be performing at Ventnor Fringe Festival on August 15th.

As regular readers of Kureen’s reviews are aware, we pride ourselves on being authentic and not pulling any punches, particularly when it comes to the rap genre, as we’re huge fans of the scene.

Even so, it’s difficult to pick holes in this release. If there is one minor flaw it might be the slightly tiresome chorus of You Got It, but even that is offset by the regularly captivating concepts of a teenage musician who already warrants a grander stage.

Until that day arrives the Isle of Wight is his oyster and it’s clear that these are merely the initial acts of what is likely to unfold into an exciting career.

 

 

Retroverted Propulsion provides a stunning launchpad for Dylan Kulmayer, in the words of Fort Minor: Remember The Name. 

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.

Album Review: JC and The Catfish – ‘Diamond In The Rough’

JC and The Catfish are set to release a seven-track album later this summer, Dom Kureen gives his take on the hip-hop duo’s latest exploits.

JC at work
JC at work

Rarely does a pre-release appear in my email inbox with the sort of anticipation that surrounded ‘Diamond In The Rough’, a seven track LP written and produced by Jason Cox (JC) and Jon Clucas (Catfish Jon) respectively.

A combination of societally scathing rhetoric and unrelenting percussion, the album gets underway via the agile exploits of its ethical quandary fuelled title track.

Focusing on the battle between authenticity and perceived necessity, there is a flavour of early Silibil ‘n’ Brains here, as JC’s heartfelt, seductively crafted lyrical attack on widespread subliminal psyche numbing serves to expose and address an often overlooked political device, whilst ostensibly unburdening the performer from his own demons.

Those concepts are further explored during the next trio of tracks, culminating with the album’s most poignant, stirring cut ‘If I Should Die,’ which hints at underlying religion and recreational drug related reminiscence.

Bob Marley

Following such a storming embarkation,  there are a couple of let downs: ‘Vitamin D’, an ode to an often logistically bound nature versus nurture impasse, focuses on the coming together of a segregated species, poking indecisively at the subject without threatening resolution.

Likewise, ‘Liar’, struggles from the blocks, initially retracing ground by now well worn, although it does ultimately evolve into a decent eulogy for a planet teetering beneath the weight of the excessive apex caused by such ill-conceived hierarchy.

Concluding in a blaze of glory, the duo’s re-imagining of Bob Marley’s legendary ‘Redemption Song’ allows listeners a traipse through JC’s psyche, as he possibly seeks his own redemption from a haunted inner optical.

 

A risky addition due to the original’s continued relevance , the cover is arguably the zenith of a potent, well thought out album and guarantees a satisfying denouement to proceedings.

Despite a brief lapse in vigour, five and a half good to excellent tracks make this thought provoking LP essential listening for fans of spoken word, rap and/or hip-hop

Written by Dom Kureen

As a young rapscallion stranded on an Island, my time is split between writing, performing spoken word, wrestling alligators and delivering uplifting pep talks to hairdressers before they prune me. I meditate and wash daily when possible.