Kyle Skye is no stranger to the music industry. He’s been an active artist for over a decade, working feverishly on finding his sound, voice and a team who could meet his needs. He’s a classic example of the idea that no one in music is an overnight success. Finally hitting his stride, the North Minneapolis-born singer and rapper finally delivers his debut project, “MINT”, a collection of ten songs, spanning over many different topics, from the social climate, love, relationships and self-identity.
“The Lightrail” opens up the album, and begins with an opening skit about how detrimental the implementation of the Light Rail Train system coming to Kyle’s hometown of Minneapolis will be; completely laced with a racist and classist overtone. As an introduction to his project, Kyle opts to speak through social commentary on the racial disparity in the community and how the perception of Blacks and minorities is flawed to the point that many White citizens believe their presence will only usher in violence and anarchy. Being biracial, he touches on the duality of such a heritage, and how the Black side of him still takes precedence in the modern-day struggles of living in America.
“Get Dat” takes the album is another direction, as Skye speaks on the fast, party life, and a world of lust and lasciviousness. “Let me get dat” he croons to the apple of his eye, while also delving into some of the dark realities of the lifestyles of those women he admires and continues to pursue. (“I’m a savage, she an addict; let me at it!”). The production is a bass-heavy slow burn with an entrancing refrain, and sets the tone for the rowdy narrative.
“Darkness” takes things to the dancehall floor; the most contemporary sounding record thus far on the project. In the fashion of his contemporaries such as The Weeknd and Jason Derulo, Skye delivers a dark, island-esque bop that is a dance-worthy tune with underlying dark thematic elements; a formula that’s been used successfully in popular music in recent years. Kyle Skye is certainly on par with what’s hot with radio with a tune like this.
“Fear Not” shows Skye flexing his bravado, opting to show off his rap skills as he repeats the refrain “Fear Not, looking like victory!” The obscure production throws homage back to the classic days of Timbaland and Danjahandz, with a catchy bounce and eclectic percussion. It’s a quick snapshot of Kyle’s versatility as an artist.
“Nike” continues Kyle’s rap brigade as he delves into the modern trap flow, intermixed with a screwed voice. It’s another record flexing his bravado, as Skye speaks on executing his goals without a lot of commentary. The chorus alludes to the famous Nike slogan.“Just Do It”. What’s interesting is the incorporation of sound bytes throughout the song. They give an extra energy to the song in the transitions. It’s clear that Kyle has an ear for detail in how he intricately laces his songs and verses together with added elements.
“Sensation” was the lead single from the album, and is Skye’s most sultry R&B offering. After two high energy rap records, Kyle returns to his signature crooning over an ice-cold production that I would dub as a new-age slow jam. It’s a standout thus far in the tracklisting.
“Higher” ushers in the funk, a totally different feel from any of the other songs on the album. The production carries an old-school 80s candor. Kyle’s vocals are mixed in a very digital, modern style, and it sort of clashes with each other. What ties it together is some of the 80s synth, that allows the digital vocals to make sense. This one seems like filler more than anything else, but a smooth groove nevertheless.
“Selena” is the follow-up song, where Kyle cleverly interpolates JAY-Z and Mystikal in a mid-tempo groove for the ladies. The production is spacey and atmospheric. Something really bothers me about the mix of the vocals and how they sit inside the production. The vocals are mixed very warm, and it clashes with the coldness of the production. This one comes off like another filler record as well.
“Ovr + Ovr” has an obscure production style, with a slow, 4 on the floor bounce, that transitions into a dancehall vibe. It gives off the 80s vibe, with a modern twist – thinking George Michael meets Wayne Wonder. Once again, the mix of the vocals seem to be a problem here – they don’t sit inside the beat well enough, and it’s very prevalent. This seems to be the only downfall to many of the songs on MINT; such an engineer faux pas takes away from the enjoyment of the track as a whole.
“Worthy” is the final track on the album, a smooth ballad summing up the project, as Kyle self-reflects on his journey and if his plight is worth it. It’s one of the more solid records when it comes to songwriting on the project.
Overall, MINT is a good offering to introduce Kyle Skye to the world. It contains some stellar songs and production, and the songwriting is certainly not lacking. The biggest problem was the sonic aesthetic. A lot of the songs are very ambitious, big records, and it’s imperative that the mixing and engineering of the vocals meet that bar. The lack of having a meticulous ear on the mixing and mastering of the record really takes away from what the project could potentially be. But as for Kyle Skye, it sounds like he’s just getting started and has a lot more to say, so I’m eager to hear what the next move will be. MINT is available worldwide on all major streaming platforms.