New Kingdom – “Horse Latitudes”

Alright, so whatever happens after you press play, just…roll with it, okay?

Okay, so in 1993 the group New Kingdom arrived with their debut record, Heavy Load, ready to take on the world with their potent mix of rap, rock, and hard funk.

Unfortunately, the group fired a blank with that debut, and the album went unnoticed.

In an effort to save face, the Kingdom retreated from the hip-hop world, and the trio of Nosaj, Sebastian (AKA “Seb-Stop“) and producer Scotty Hard elected to do some soul searching before they resumed making music. And I’m guessing that soul searching entailed taking copious amounts of LSD and wandering the deserts of the American southwest.

After three long years of doing this (I’m guessing), they returned with in 1996 with Paradise Don’t Come Cheap, pretty much the closest thing rap will ever have to it’s own version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Paradise Don’t Come Cheap is a spectacular record, full of dusty-assed, warped-out-of-their-minds, “it’s-hot-as-balls-out-here-but-the-desert-is-my-life-my-love-and-my-birthright”-style tracks. Hell, legend has it that the original CD jewel cases had sand in them. Through the record’s 15 tracks Nosaj and Seb rant, rave and provide an aural roadtrip through the desert in an old-school drop-top Caddy, high on everything they can get their hands on and stumbling from one surreal adventure to the next. On the production Scott provided the group a beastly combination of uppers, downers, hip-hop, funk, sand, and lo-fi rock, and knocked it out of the park, making for one terrifying trip. Believe me when I say that this is the album for when you’re in the middle of nowhere, on your hands and knees, clenching the sand in your fists, the sun and the drugs are boiling your brain and you’re screaming at the vultures to get the fuck back. It’s weird, wild and brilliant stuff.

It was tough to choose one track from this record. I was gravitating towards “Co-Pilot,” it’s it’s apocalyptic break, bursts of radio chatter, and Nosaj riding the bomb down like Dr. Strangelove but I figured that one would be a little TOO rough for you, so to ease you into the trip I present “Horse Latitudes,” which rolls with it’s blunt funk, the woozy feel, the ad-libs (“There’ll be dragons…”) and hell, the way the track “dies” in the end with spaced-out clashing cymbals ripped straight from some ’70s grindhouse flick. Amazing.

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