Elevator 12: Ka

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Ka might not want me to make a big fuss about him, so how ‘bout just a little blog post? This Brownsville veteran emcee is self aware, lyrically raw and, for a rapper, unusually modest.

Ka claims: “I already know my songs are not for everyone. They’re not for the radio, the club or the masses.”

About his previous crew Natural Elements he says: “I felt like I was bringing them down. They were more lyrical than me; they were flipping a lot of fly shit. I went to start my own group Nightbreed. I got a little better. I think Kev was better than me, I still tell him that today.”

His flow is beautiful, every word placed with care. Nate Patrin of Pitchfork labels Ka’s delivery as “quietly straightforward; not an easy way to get a fickle listener’s attention.”

So, yes, Ka’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but his music is growing on me.

I think Ka is an elevator because he paints with care, creating albums with themes that permeate the tracks like a thick smog. Pain, regret, dread and as vivid a street tale spitter as anyone out there.

In this Out Da Box TV interview he says: “In the 80’s I was a teenage…Crack cocaine just exploded in the neighborhood. Some people think they was winning cause they was hustlin’ but it f**ked the whole hood up. I saw the death of the crack wars. We lost a lot. If I had a seed [offspring], I know I wouldn’t want my seed to experience shit like that. I feel like I’m hundred and something years old.”

Clearly he’s content with how his 2012 album ‘Grief Pedigree’ turned out:

Listen to the street knowledge observations of ‘Cold Facts’:

The bleak ‘Summer’:

And ‘Up Against Goliath’:

Here’s his Grief Pedigree album video playlist – He made a video for each track.

The highlights of his 2008 ‘Iron Works’ album are the melancholy ‘Sunday To Sunday’, the deadly storytelling and soundscape of ‘Iron Work’ and ‘Children’.

The refrain in ‘Children’ is a simple profound observation:

It’s the children that bring balance in the hood

So let’s not make them age faster than they should

Another pithy interview: Question in the Form of an Answer: Ka

Grab a cold drink and hang out for a few minutes with a soft-spoken street scholar. Lean in and just listen.

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