KB – Weight & Glory
Published on August 3, 2012
Ringtone rap in its loosest definition is “music” designed to sell singles, not albums. These are songs that are designed to be heard on the radio for 2 weeks and are never heard again. As expected, the ringtone rap era is quite notorious within hip-hop. It inspired the famous Nas album but has also been responsible for more atrocities against the hip-hop culture than would have thought possible. However its effects run deeper. Ringtone rap arose at the time when the intraweb was making its presence felt. High speed internet was entering the country, Limewire had become the premier p2p site and Google Video had just started up.
The combinations of all these factors lead to a different marketing strategy. Before LimeWire and illegal downloading, the labels target audience was your average employee who would buy cds. However with piracy increasing, the labels decided to do some research and voila! They discovered something very important; their greatest revenue in music sales came from the under 24 age group who would use the pocket money to buy singles rather than albums, thus propelling artists to the charts with just one or two songs.
So what does this have to do with Weight & Glory? It is the quintessential ringtone rap album that dropped about 4 years too late. Let me backtrack though. My introduction to KB began with his mixtape. It was an amazing mixtape that stayed in my car for many months. My favorite song of that mixtape had a line that I have saved for my wedding day, “Girl I made my vows a I.O.U. regardless if I’m loving it/ Divorce is not an option I will die keeping this covenant.”
So coming off songs like that, I was more than a little excited for the album. With great excitement I pressed play…and skipped every single song before getting halfway through each song. I sat in my car mortified. I looked at the cover to make sure I had the same artist, I went back to the mixtape to make sure it was the same KB and came back to the album and still could not get through a single song. So I thought that maybe the album would be better enjoyed in the gym. My usual gym listening choices are Officer Ricky & Jeezy* so I am no stranger to commercial music. By the time I got to “Go Off“, I was yawning in the gym and had to go off KB.
The album ranges from completely, predictably boring to just appalling. Every song on Weight & Glory sounds like it was designed to be a single. Every single is full of sugary pop synths such as “Hello”, mindless hooks such as “church clap, let me hear the church clap x4”** and just bad attempts at crossover songs such as “Don’t Mean Much”, which is an abhorrent attempt at a rock song. It’s hard to believe that a label that made a classic had a hand in “Don’t Mean Much”. The one redeeming quality of the album was his rapping, but more importantly the guest features. On the aforementioned song, it was Mr. High Society [Sho Baraka, for those not in the know – ed.] that did not disappoint. Jenny Norlin completed the intro track with her beautiful heaven shaking singing and even Tedashii seems to have found his rhythm again after the mishap of his last album.
When it comes to lyricism and flow, KB is similar in style to the Bone brothers. He has a unique sing/rap style which he utilizes well to an extent as seen on Here We Go. There is no denying that KB can rap. That is not the problem. The problem lies in the approach that went to making this Weight & Glory. It is a single ready, fast-food album apparently designed to sell like hot cakes. But, come next month and people will have moved on to the next big CHH commercial album. Every song sounds like a clone of the sound dominating the radio. It’s the same drum kits, the same snare rolls, typical pauses in the song to emphasize the punchline, same keys…in other words, boring.
So, what can I say in conclusion? Well if your music tastes lie more in the Waka lane, you will love this album. For others like me, Weight & Glory will hold no weight. The standard of CHH has been lifted higher and Reach has to do its part in representing our genre if they aspire to continue as the face of our scene.
*Don’t crucify me, I enjoy my commercial rap as much as the next heathen!
**the dude who made anthems like “Even if my heart may fail/Doctors say all ain’t swell, pockets ain’t swell/I wanna show that You’re enough/If You ain’t there, You can keep heaven I don’t care as long as You’re here/Imma show that You’re enough” is chanting mindless hooks like this “I’m goin’ off/Goin’ harder than I’ve ever been, I put that on everything” over and over again. That’s my point.