A tuna sandwich. Damn Good Advice. Granite kitchen countertop. Zeppelin Air and NINJA GAIDEN. This is the setting where I paint my thoughts about KiddBlack’s first official body of work.
I’m on my 17th full listen, in 3-months. I’m trying to finger this record’s place in my rotation. Music has a wider reach than when I first fell in love with HipHop.. In ’92, Benzino mattered; Elliot Wilson mattered, in the hiphop fan landscape even more so for kids in Ghana lusting after hiphop. Their opinion was the benchmark of dopeness. Custodians and curators of the culture so to say. It mattered what they thought and how many mics an MC got. No more.
The music landscape has grown and become instantly accessible just as it is disposable. All year I’ve only had IYRTITL in constant rotation, then I added Treasurechest’s Heaven and Ojuelegba(surprisingly) — I’m a snob of sorts..When NG landed in my email, I was ready to listen with a critical ear. Kiddbkack likes a lotta weed and fellatio as an ongoing theme of NINJA GAIDEN and he doesn’t hesitate to tell you in so many stylistic ways. I first heard Kidd’s work 2-years ago and I was stunned. 17yr old from Tema, rapping his ass off and sounding like a New Yorker. It was thrilling even in the hypocrisy of my excitement. There was this conundrum. I love my hiphop authentic, down to the accent. I often cringe at the manufactured accents of some of Kidd’s predecessors and it takes away from the music, even godfather Reggie’s accent was screechy to me. This isn’t an indictment on any of those artists but for me, it was wonderfully thrilling to hear a kid sound this dope, be from Ghana and be on par with the authentic New York HipHop I enjoy.
The sampling and production on the opener, Baby— is synths and soul, a welcoming sound of plowing down in a couch to catch a classic karate flick. Popcorns out. The flow is lethargic good. Kidd flirts with introspective lines that seem to conceal a desire to maintain the toughness of a street dude but shows streaks of sentiment in flashes. 3months is a long time to digest an album or piece of art. Now that the record has simmered down in my mental hard drive, the feeling is Ninja Gaiden is a showcase of an artist trying to merge authentic rap with his own roots and doing a damn fucking awesome job at it. Best Guys is another standout track that presents Kidd holding more than his own in trading verses with one of the seminal artists of this generation in E.L and it’s anybody’s 10-count on the canvas. By the time the track is over, you can see the shadows of two artists who are aware of their footwork under the microscope of scrutiny and doing what is needed to show flair and spark.
Ninja Gaiden is an aspirational testament to where Kidd wants to go. Literally sleep with your girlfriends, amass a lot of money and take care of his family,– typical rapper tale. However, on the title track and Vibrations, he reveals what makes him potentially the most intricate and sophisticated writer from the African HipHop scene the way he weaves couplets and thoughts to express the emotions of the complexities of what modern youthful love entails.
“This here for a couple niggas love a couple bitches, This here for a couple bitches love a couple niggas. Bitches get they heart broke, fuck a couple niggas. Niggas get they heart broke role a couple swishas.”
This couplet is brash, vulgar and raw but introduces the listener into the heart and minds of two young people in love and wondering what the future is bringing their way. The use of the actual phone conversation is as personal as any moment for anywho who’s been in a relationship. My personal favorite and it treats HipHop’s glaring chauvinism in the context of art where it’s still safe to be balls in your hand differentiating between ho and wife material. I think it’s important to separate the art from real life advances about respect for the sexes but sometimes I just wanna enjoy the bad ole raw dirty hiphop and that’s as honest as it may be wrong. The record is laced with heavy doses of desire, materialistic and of the big booty variety. It sometimes becomes innundating but the production does well to distract from the monotony in the subject matter.
My takeaway from this record is Kidd is the future of rap from Ghana and Africa. The internet as stated before has made music very accessible and he shows a lot of potential to connect with kids from any corner HipHop that want a fresh sound. My standout tracks are Euphoria Forever, Fun & Games, Best Guys, Ninja Gaiden, Vibrations and Kyushojustsu Flow in no exact order. The future of Gh rap is exciting. On any stage in boardinghouse secondary school, Variety or Entertainment Night was an outlet for us creatives and we tried to put on and showcase our talents as best as we could. They’re but memories that we can only recite and to think that the youth get to nurture their talent and make careers off them more freely is a welcome dynamic. Mensa was a pioneer, trended off to other forms of artistic expression but in retrospect, Kidd represents what Mensa was to my generation growing up. The nicest MC, spitting like we shouldn’t question his authenticity and that’s trill. Get Ninja Gaiden.