New Music – Harlem Raised Dog

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Don’t let the cutesy style for a cover art fool you, DOG is a record that belongs is the confusion of rampaging production and quick spit lines that fly by like the Lexington Avenue Local train. Kahlil Blu who has been a voice in this hip-hop renaissance in New York is able to capture through 20 total tracks, a vivid and pastel look into the intricacies of abstract display.

Opening with an eight-second piece titled “bark !,” Kahlil Blu allows this subtle distraction to be the catalyst that leads into “coldsweats” filled with catchy hooks and bombastic instrumentation. Describing, “I got cold sweats, I got cold sweats. I need more checks, I need more checks,” as the production behind him is a speeding whip that is able to thrive in chaos. “coldsweats” is only barely behind a minute-and-a-half, but is an elastic punch that pushes the crowd back to give Blu some breathing room. When he brings in the feature from MAVI on “runway talk,” Blu is more understandable and less frantic through the bedroom loops and lo-fi percussive snaps.

Instantly, the world that “runway talk” survives and embodies is much more approachable, and while Blu is still aggressive, his demeanor changes. Truly on DOG, the star of the record is his production which aids his vocals to be pavement-shattering. If the foundation is outstanding, then the vocal work is able to ease in and push a message without becoming too bogged down. Also, the inclusion of vocalists like MAVI, Fifthpower, $ilkMoney, and Na-Kel Smith who are not unfamiliar with orchestrating sound into abrasion benefits him as well.

Later, pieces like “CHEWING GUM” have Blu acting and spitting over this triplet run of bass and carousel-style instrumentation that has an undeniable Playboi Carti undertone. This flutter of butterfly wings that surrounds the production and then his ad-libs that scream “Bitch, Yeah!” are energetic enough to sculpt this danceable, but dominant verse that commands. Blu continues to pick up speed as the track barrels until he is practically having a conversation with himself over the 808s.

As a narrator, Kahlil Blu is divisive and stands separated from his features, but his instrumentation is able to carry DOG even before Blu enters the frame. It is almost like his performance is an additional piece of the treasure with lyrics spit through a smile for the most part. Especially for his remix of “The Mint”  by Earl Sweatshirt on “Oh Well” where the already low-tuned strings are constricted by this harsh 808 smack. It turns, what was a drained creep from one artist into a sprawling club hit that appears only for a minute.

That’s almost the beauty of DOG, the record is 20 tracks in 32 minutes. So by the time the listener can get used to a beat or flow from one track, Blu essentially breaks the neck to turn onto something new. It is admirable, and for some reason, quickly becomes a timestamp in an already diverse career.

Listen To DOG Here!!! – BandCamp/Spotify/Amazon/iTunes

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