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Album of The Year #3: KA - Descendants of Cain

Artist- KA

Album- Descendants of Cain

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KA

Kaseem Ryan is a 48 year old rapper from Brownsville, New York. Born in the 70s, he speaks often on New York street life; his role in it, and how it affected him, and his family and friends. Although he is from from Brownsville similar to M.O.P, Heltah Skeltah (riP), Mike Tyson & RZA, his unique smooth militant style sets his apart from others. Ka's raps often contain parables and homonyms and all that other dope shit you wack muhfuckers know nothing about.

IRON WORKS

Ka's career may not be an illustrious one, but he should be recognized as notable. Ka began his career rapping in a group by the name of Natural Elements in the early 90s. After that he was in a group named Nightbreed with his good friend Kev (rip). Ka; not seeing any progress in his career, took a break from music. Still having lyrics come to him, he began working on a debut album "just for his friends". That debut album "Iron Works" got to GZA by a friend of Ka's wife. He got his first notable placement by The GZA after GZA heard Iron Works, and invited Ka to rap on his album "Pro Tools" in 2008.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmXxBCQIhto (Produced by Roc Marciano by the way)

"Went from crawl to run. We want all or none. Being fatherless bothered us, so everybody we called em SON."

Editors note- Like cmon; man spits like 64 bars on this joint. GZA said NAH MAN THE TRACK IS YOURS, I DONT WANNA RAP AFTER THAT -.

It's almost a crime to quote one or two lines when Ka puts together thick parables. After listening to most of his discography; most albums follow a broad overlying theme, with almost every song expanding on it.

For example Iron Works(2008) has songs about

  • 1.His father getting arrested for avenging the life of his brother (ka's uncle) when Ka was young enough to see but not old enough to understand.

  • 2.Ka getting his first gun; and although it being dirty, taking it everywhere with him.

  • 3.Ka detailing the experience of seeing and experiencing police injustice towards him and his peers.

But my favorite song from this album is "Patience". Hearing the song how it fits in the album really shows the growth and maturity to the character that was detailed and described on this project. Ka initially writes as a hot-headed psuedo-immature character from the start of the album; that at this point has evolved into a working class gentleman with a family. This song details the turning point that test him. Will he revert back to his street ways that he has known for his whole life, or will he turn the other cheek? https://youtu.be/QgDywe9k_V4

KA'S STYLE

Ka typically works alone. Most of Ka's songs are produced by himself. And then he raps every verse. And then he shoots and edits the video himself. Mans is a one man team. A good example is this video from 2011 with a feature from a young(-ish) Roc Marciano. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMcUKX9kf9A

This video vividly depicts Ka's style perfectly. Black and white. Shaky camera. No glamour and glits. Raw.

In his interviews KA speaks often about "honor" and his music shares the same sentiment. He also often speaks on the duality of man, with lyrics like

  • "Momma told me be a good boy, need you alive, please survive, you my hood joy. Pops told me stay strapped son. keep the shotty, either be a body or catch one."-Conflicted

  • "I know niggas that didn't turn Pro, turned cons."-Cold Facts

  • "Judge me too quick, mistake me as a heathen. Cause i had tools, moved weight, and was theaving......But i was broke, out the gate i was grieving. Had a cold heart cause my apartment was friezing. -Cold Facts

  • "How i'm unique is, if i speak it, i had visual. But careful, cause everything i say is admissible."

  • "I’m The Wolf, don’t make a move unless I do it first/You might hear better, but there’s no truer verse. I’m one with the gutter, I’m too immersed/Struggle’s what I’m quoting, and hoping I’m through the worst-Vessel

DECENDANTS OF Cain KAIN

More recently Ka released "Orpheus vs. the Sirens", one of my personal favorite albums by him. Despite the album being an incredible display of lyricism, the overlying theme of biblical refrences is focused and plentiful. The same can be said for this album "Decendants of Cain"; even the albums title alone having a double meaning. "Cain" being the firstborn son of Adam & Eve, who would kill his brother over hatred, and "Caine" being short for cocaine and how it effected Ka growing up in New York when it was rapant.

The album begins with "Every now and then"; an intro that invokes pain and sadness from instruments i can't even name. The following track "Unto the dust" details how Ka often sees his friends and family not "pass away" but be killed.

"Street LIVE, we don't die, we pass away. Take any task if you got cash to pay".

Patron Saints is an incredible track where Ka spends the entire song speaking in antithesis.

"Our peacekeepers (Piece keepers) bust they gun repeated. Our careGIVERS stole everything that we needed." ending the track with "Our heros sold herion (heroine)".

My Brother's keeper is the climax of the album for me, where Ka spends a little short of 3 minutes DESTROYING this beat, spending 2 bars to repeat the hook "Am i my brothers...keeper." When Ka says things like "Put food on that table as long as i'm able-bodied" you can miss the double meaning if not paying attention.

My personal favorite song on the album goes to "Sins of The Father". Remember earlier when I attached that video with KA and Roc Marciano. Roc is the only feature on the album, all while producing this beautiful opera-like instrumental. Ka begins the song "Still built my ark in the face of ridicule" with Roc picking up on the theme of the album stating" Cain killed Able in prison...while upstate on a visit.".

The album ends with a beautiful dedication from a man we assumed who was incapable of emotion. The song; each verse scripted to a different person in his life, i feel is a great way to end the album. The verses being for his mom, his wife, and his friend and musical partner, Kev, from that group that he began his career with.

In Conclusion

  • How did you like the album? What would you rate it? you the best you the best what should i review next?

  • For those already fans of Ka, where do you rate this in the discography?

  • For those just now listening to this album, what do you like or not like about this album?

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