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Album reviews
Artist:
Killy
Album:
Light Path 8
Release year:
2019
Label:
Secret Sound Club
09 July 2019 / by Demar Grant (author)

 

Movements: melodic trap, cloud rap

Lane: Travis Scott, Trippie Redd, Pressa

 

Killy's Surrender Your Soul was closer to a big room house album that most realize. Filled with twinkling pianos, spectral slow rises and 808 laden drops, SYS was riddled with melodic trap bangers. Light Path 8 abandons that formula for a sci-fi aesthetic, but it reveals Killy's underdeveloped pen game.

Killy once said that the reason he doesn't have many features on his projects is because he can do any style. Well that may be true, he hasn’t proven he can do them well. Up until this moment all Killy's songs have been melodic, so when he's left to simply rap it's a struggle. On Light Path 8's first track ‘Lift Off’ Killy not only interpolates Drake’s ‘Forever’ with the very first bar of the album but he considers himself the "number one contender according to speculation". The flow is janky while non-rhymes and half rhymes litter the track. None of it sounds in place. It's one of those records that has no chorus but it's clear Killy saved them for other songs.

On ‘Elixir’, ‘Days’ and ‘Eye for an Eye’ the length of each chorus outweighs the length of the single verse sandwiched between them. And most songs are about equal.  Light Path 8’s records follow the formula: chorus, verse, chorus, which would work if the choruses were sticky instead of gliding past you. Light Path 8 has a ton of choruses but few hooks. That big room influence that was under the hood of most of Surrender Your Soul simplified Killy's song structures but magnified their impact. But with Light Path 8’s dalliance, Killy’s song writing is exposed.

The records on Light path 8 are so skeletal that the longest track is three minutes and 15 seconds and is one of two songs over three minutes. And instead of the chorus acting as a hook it sounds like a verse following each verse. Each track washes over you without a part to grasp onto. Killy loves to flex but without a hook tying the songs together it comes off as incessant bragging. So, while Killy's flow rides the waning synths and skittering hi-hats on ‘Elixir’ it produces an unmemorable track. Even in the standout ‘Not by Chance’ the chorus is shaky and very little of it rhymes which does a disservice to the rising piano with SNES sound effects.

Although Killy has left his big room roots behind he's not afraid to attack electronic beats that would emcees wouldn’t even consider. Killy's malleable flows and melodies allow him to rap over beats that have no obvious path to delivery while still spouting anime references. Somehow through the electronic orgy that is ‘Simulation’ Killy can find the gaps in the beat to "beat the pussy up like it's a budokai".

Killy is fearless when it comes to beat selection which has led to electronic rises and drops being replaced with sci-fi synths and video game effects. Even on the galactic and spacious ‘Lifestyle’ Killy is able to fill the track with ad-libs while he brags about his "bad bitch with a bad physique" being "stuck in my susanoo". Killy even breaks the electronic theme for a couple songs for two guitar led tracks and one of them actually works.

Buttery flows nearly save Killy's songs from docile hooks, but the tracks aren't grandiose enough to justify the lack of catchiness. So, while most records do sound good to the ear, you'd be hard pressed to deliver the lines on recall. It's clear Killy can do multiple styles and sounds but until he's able to refine his song writing it's even clearer in Light Path 8 that he only can do one style well.

 

Rating: 6.1/10

Fire: Elixir, Not by Chance, Simulation, Half a Ticket, Interlude

Ice: Lift Off, Days, Destiny

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The author

Demar Grant

aka Deminem, aka Lil Demi Vert, aka Demar like DeRozan, aka Demar J. Grant is a music journalist and critic at CJRU. Follow him @DemarJGrant

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