Ka – “Chamber”

That one, that one, that one….

Things are starting to heat up here in the District. I’ve been getting settled in, getting used to life up here, and learning all that I can. One thing I’ve learned quite well in my past month here is that this city will make you broke very quickly. Happy hours, take outs, night life, and hell, just riding the train flattens your pockets like no one’s business. This brokeness brings to mind a line from rapper Ka:

Either starve, or pull a transgression.

Now, to be crushingly honest, I ain’t hood enough to do that (I grew up in the burbs, WHAT! Both my parents were present and caring, WHAT!), but the desperation and determination that the Brooklyn emcee brings to his rhymes are palpable. Hailing from the rough neighborhood of Brownsville (also home to the badass duo known as M.O.P. [WHAT!]), Ka is quite possibly one of the best rappers you haven’t heard of. Mature, methodical, lyrical, and intelligent, Ka brings a cool and collected vibe to his rhymes. He plays the background, unconcerned with fame and visibility, instead favoring bringing solid music to underground hip-hop fans. The dude has been around for well over a decade, has collaborated with GZA and Roc Marciano, and has gained quite a reputation for his vibrant stories and strong productions, all handled by him. His latest release, Grief Pedigree, is on my list for a top listen of 2012, and one record that every legit hip-hop fan needs to give a spin.

Off Pedigree there are several tracks which feel so…right while walking the streets of the Capital. Yeah, it ain’t Brooklyn, but don’t be fooled by those hipsters and joggers, D.C. was, and in some ways still is, a rough city to navigate at times. It’s a city where everyone has to hustle or pull a con to get what they want (I mean, it is home to the government). “Chamber,” the album opener, is on steady repeat for me, as Ka sets things off nicely with that imposing beat and his endless lyrical gems. Very nicely done.

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