One of the Twin Cities’ hardest working artists is back at it again. Wrapping up 2018 and kicking off 2019, KPW delivers his 4th solo EP to date, “26 Ntiba III”. The title alludes to the fact that this is his second EP with 6 songs, but there shall not be a third, with fears of promoting anything Satanic.
Irregardless of intentions to avoid Satanist overtones, the EP opens with the hauntingly creepy “D.Y.B.I.G”. As he has done in many previous projects, KPW tackles social issues through spiritual symbolism. It’s clear that KPW’s stance has always been a fighter of the status quo and the accepted norms of society which he deems evil. He is the antithesis. While not crossing the line too far into religious candor (although this might be the reason he’s been mistakenly dubbed as a Gospel rapper in the past), KPW lays out his premise as the “good guy”, seeking to shed light on such topics. The production shines the most here, as one of his strongest opening songs/intros to date.
L.E.N.Z is a whimsical, late night jazz driven production that comes in strong and immediately catches the ear. The first voice you hear through your speakers is guest performer Eno Noziroh, an exasperated, energetic M.C from Philly who delivers a braggadocious verse full of stoner and third eye references, that ends with a Kendrick-esque stream of consciousness. Enter KPW stage right, as he continues his narrative against demons and devils through symbolist repetition. This is one of the rare moments where KPW’s guest outshines him on his own song, although the tune’s short length doesn’t allow much time to expand.
In the first installment of the EP’s two-part song, “Making Every Nefarious Thought As a Lie”, KPW speaks on unlearning ideologies that aren’t conducive to his current understanding of life nor progression. Halfway through the track, we experience a beat switch, that transitions into a very 9th Wonder-esque soulful refrain; a shining moment in the album. KPW analyzes the toxic generational staples of seeing perfection, duck faces and everlasting racism, as he describes how the underestimation and skepticism of self plagues our current social climate.
“Hatred” seems to be attacking the hypocriticism of the generation of “Hotep Twitter”; those using Afrocentricity and African symbolism to mask the veil of perpetuating the patriarchy and outdated outlooks on the current society. It reminds one of the line from JAY Z’s “The Blueprint 2”, directed at Nas; “Just ‘cuz he wear a Kufi, it don’t mean that he bright…”. Wearing and emulating the costume and appearance of the enlightened doesn’t necessarily make you a part of that elitist consciousness. KPW is telling you that looking the part doesn’t always mean playing the part. King Kamaal makes a small vocal appearance on the hook of this one, but it’s KPW’s heavy truth-filled verses that shine, making this the standout track on the project thus far.
“Dations” is an obscurely produced song, as KPW slows his flow down to discuss the lack of originality in the art of rapping; claiming that the next big thing won’t necessarily be you because rapping isn’t the most complex thing anymore. He continues to analyze this generation’s obsession with fame and exposure, by any means necessary. KPW clings to the idea that trend hoppers still cannot compete with those truly talented and skilled on the microphone.
“Making Every Nefarious Thought As a Lie (II)” wraps up the 6-track EP, as he picks up where he left off in the previous episode. In a stripped down version of the production, KPW describes how those ahead of their time may not be acknowledged for their genius until way after their time. It’s a very interesting observation, because much of KPW’s music falls into this category; many times, it takes multiple listens to catch all of his metaphors and symbolism, but depending on your musical tastes, this is what makes the listening experience challenging, let fulfilling. The EP is one of KPW’s more easily digested projects, while not sacrificing its elusive and elite consciousness. “26 Ntiba III” is available on all major streaming platforms.