This K-os article was written by Elliot Lee, a GIGsoup contributor
‘Can’t Fly Without Gravity’ is the sixth album from Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter and producer Kevin ‘K-os’ Brereton. Kheaven (a name adopted by himself) has maintained the eclecticism and diversity that has captivated fans to date. Contrary to his 2013 album ‘Black on Blonde’, which saw rap and rock sit parallel to one another in a two part album, ‘Can’t Fly’ accentuates hip-hop flows whilst combining all dimensions of music. Out now on Dine Alone Records, the album stretches further across the music spectrum to accomplish new heights, taking the listener on a journey into the mind of a maverick who never fails to push the boundaries as we know them.
K-os is known for his wide range of music influence, incorporating all genres to fuse his sound together, and this is apparent from the get-go. Unveiling with jazz imposed beats and freestyle flows in ‘Snapback’, Kevin states he’s here to “bring rap back,” and “teach rappers a lesson.”
Kevin has stated that unpredictability is something he strives for. As the album switches erratically from one song to the next, K-os morphs fluidly between tempo and style. ‘Snapback’ moves straight into the contemporary, electronic beat of ‘Wild4theNight’. Released a year prior to the album, ‘Wild4theNight’ reveals Brereton’s heritage by fusing Trinidadian chants through the chorus and introduction with a bouncy, rebellious rap style throughout each verse.
As a producer, Kevin steps far out of rap territory when lacing lyrics over a punk, Libertines-esque beat in ‘Steel Sharpens Steel’ and utilising an Indian flute beat to work rap wizardry in ‘Rap Zealot’. K-os directly highlights his roots in an array of comparisons throughout the album: “I’m Yeezus like Kanye,” “You two can get it like Bono”, “Can’t have the rap thing without the Lee Jackson.” ‘Can’t fly’ incorporates elements of all music, ensuring that there’s something for the listener regardless of their musical taste and origins.
Kheaven is known for his contradictory approach to hip-hop and animosity regarding the lyrical content and provocative style of most rappers. ‘Can’t fly’ carries on this theme, and stands as a message to artists to abandon the money driven demeanour of the music industry and find their own style. K-os refers to himself as “the real rap zealot,” implying an aim to change the hip-hop scene, which is typically used by rappers to portray a gangster, gun-fuelled lifestyle. In ‘Wild4theNight’, Kheaven states that “[the hip-hop] game ain’t saying nothing, hip-hopping is Jeffrey Dahmer,” suggesting that he feels rappers are killing their own kind through destructive gun-talk, in a competition to get to the top of the rap game. It is undeniable that K-os leads by example, steering clear of profanity in his lyrics, to send a direct message to the rap industry.
Aside from the rap industry, ‘Can’t fly Without Gravity’ sees K-os as an existentialist; inspiring listeners to open their minds and find themselves. ‘Spaceship’ offers inspiration, as Kheaven recalls the process of how he went from so low to sky high to silence the critics and become who he is today. ‘Wild4TheNight’, which appears a track about renting expensive cars and cruising around in pursuit of women on first listen, is actually a cry for people to release their inhibitions. Almost as though aimed toward those who love the hip hop he hates, Kheaven sarcastically uses a downtown beat to deceive the listener into hearing an entirely different message than expected. ‘Dance In Yo Car’ is a call to God and religious people alike, stating that peace must be found in this life before it can be found in the next. The song opens with a recital of the lords prayer, before asking:“If we tried to pray, who would be listening anyway?”
Far from your archetypal hip hop sound, ‘Can’t Fly Without Gravity’ dares the world to dream. K-os sets the challenge of questioning our existence and striving for something new, reminding us that it is the struggles we face and how we overcome them that determine who we are, for without gravity would could not fly, but merely float.
At times, it’s as though K-os is in another dimension; in tracks such as ‘Snapback’ and ‘Turn Me Loose’, distortion creates the effect of broken sound waves sent through outer space toward earth with the hope that we received the message. For world peace, one can only hope that we did.
‘Can’t Fly Without Gravity’ is out now via Dine Alone Records.