ALBUM REVIEW: Grief Pedigree

Brownsville Brooklyn's Ka first raised eyebrows with his show stealing appearance on 'Firehouse', a sullied recollection of his hometown nestled midway through Gza's Protools. The next notable Ka sighting would be nearly two years later on Roc Marciano's critically acclaimed debut album as the one and only guest feature. Grief Pedigree incorporates many of the insular elements that made Marcberg so enjoyable, but the two records couldn't be more different. This contrast is brought to light on 'Iron Age', where Marciano delivers a stream of memorable quotes that completely overshadow his partner in rhyme.

Despite a myriad of intricate multi-syllable rhyme schemes, Ka fails to trigger that "oh shit!" switch embedded deep within every hip-hop head's psyche. Perhaps it's because he doesn't reach toward the grandiose mafioso imagery employed by Marciano, whose Kingpin ambition and seafood fetish is really no more plausible than Rick Ross'. As Ka himself so eloquently stated on 'Up Against Goliath', he "never was a boss or part of the Dons, but did settle mid-level". Throughout the album he never deviates from this grounded Sargent at arms vantage point, and this unwavering consistency benefits the proverbial "big picture". Unfortunately, very few individual pixels offer instant gratification.

Grief Pedigree is a challenging listen that requires a diligent attention span to truly appreciate its artistry. Much of the record resembles a movie score, and works far better when accompanied by Ka's exceptional cinematography. This is one of the rare instances in rap music where a project is absolutely unique, masterfully executed, ripe with technical prowess, yet still manages to fall short of expectations.


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