Engaging in some hardcore wordplay and funky hip hop production, the duo of Red Pill & Hir-O are a surefire, full-blown embodiment of modernized rap music. Hailing from Detroit, there’s an undeniable Motown sound that really casts a hypnotic shadow over this album. The Kick is a walk through the journal of not only a hip hop artist, but a man with a troubled past. I know you may think you’ve heard a story like this a million times before, but you’ve never heard it like this, I promise you.
Hir-O is behind the boards throughout the entirety of The Kick, lending a myriad of sounds that captivate an audience like a show-stopping musical number. Every eurythmic track thumps with a vibe dosed with hints of electronica through the use of synths, wobbles and other computer-generated sounds and effects. While the soul sample is predominately the ground-structure of each beat, funk, R&B and even some experimental electronic seeps its way into the interestingly crafted instrumentals.
Red Pill has a very emotional presence on the mic; you can really feel what he’s saying, as if he is confiding in you.
“I rap on this mic like it’s my own flesh!”
A true connection is felt from this die-hard lyricist. Staying primarily on a conscious tip, Red Pill keeps his head up high amid all the crap that has been hurled his way. The title track urges listeners to stay true to themselves and not let anybody tell them what they can and cannot do; this is spoken from experience as this is what Red Pill tells us happened to him. Relating the audience to his words is a powerful task that Red took head on, and it definitely served him well.
The retrospective “We Are Not Like Them” stands out as a deeply-felt track. The spacey, yet soulful jam titled “Architect (feat. L05)” takes you to another place not felt on any other track. “Home” brings it back to the feel of early 2000s hip hop with a sped-up “chipmunk” sample and a beat that skips. There are plenty of tracks that stand out for their own, special reasons, but what is great is that, despite the fact that almost every song insights a different kind of emotion and evokes a unique vibe and feel, the consistency remains dead-on which ultimately creates a solid effort by Red Pill & Hir-O.
The Kick is a fantastic project and a great way to kick off 2013. Electronica slips through the fence among heavy notes of classic, soulful hip hop and storytelling, as well as bone-deep feelings, intelligent ideas and motivational sayings storm past the lips of a talented emcee. Red Pill & Hir-O’s The Kick is a nod to the past while glancing at the future as these two hip hop newbies show that a new generation has definitely taken hip hop by the reigns and are already taking off. So, my rating…
I recommend this album to any fan of storytelling in hip hop and any fan that enjoys a little mix of electronica and hip hop, but definitely soulful hip hop.
1) One Simple Idea
2) The Kick
3) We Are Not Like Them
4) Half-Remembered Dream (feat. Steffanie Christ’ian)
5) Like Us
6) Architect (feat. L05)
7) Waiting On A Train
8) Hir-O Told Me (feat. Greenlee)
9) The Second Kick
10) Best Rapper (feat. Ras Kente)
11) Simple Words / Nana
13) Michigan (feat. Jamall Bufford & Doss the Artist)
14) Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien