Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Kam - Neva Again LP


EastWest (1993)

Every Wednesday, in honor of Ed Lover Dance Day from Yo! MTV Raps, I take a break from rock and roll to write a little bit about hip hop. In the late 80s and early 90s hip hop ruled my musical life. During this often called 'Golden Era' I discovered so much incredible music. As I am slowly replacing the CDs I've had for twenty-five plus years with vinyl copies, I'm going to talk about some albums that had a really important impact on me during some very formative years.

Until pretty recently, I had never even heard of Kam, let alone listened to any of his records.  He was a complete non-entity in the world of Yo! MTV Raps and The Source, as least as far as I can recall.  But in listening to his debut album, Neva Again, I can't quite figure out why.  I suppose his brand of gangster rap was rendered somewhat obsolete by the success of The Chronic and the almost immediate transition to g-funk as the production vibe of choice.

Neva Again is more rooted in the sound that Ice Cube and Da Lench Mob were producing in the early 90s.  I mean, in some ways that's obvious since Cube is the executive producer of the album and the production work is mostly handled by his crew.  The resulting sound is very much in line with Death Certificate and Guerillas in tha Mist.  Lower tempo, rich sounding beats with funky samples and a somewhat menacing aura.  It's kind of perfect for what it is.

Lyrically, Kam absolutely holds his own as well.  He's very much a west coast rapper and excels in storytelling and painting a compelling picture of his world.  While he's not going off the deep end with polysyllabic rhyme structures, his slow and steady vibe has just the right combination of authority and world weariness.  I'm not sure where this record was hiding all of these years, but it really feels like the last salvo of great west coast gangster rap before The Chronic changed everything (for the worse, if you ask me).

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