It would be impossible to predict which American city is next to blow in the rap game. No one can explain why cities like Boston and Philadelphia have never been hip-hop hot beds while Atlanta and Houston have blown up the way they have. Surely more frustrating to cities who have yet to blow is that fact that many cities have experienced multiple eras of prominence during hip-hop’s short history. While not the sole variable, many cities happen to have a certain “cool factor” that makes them more appealing in the eyes of hip-hop fans. For some reason, cities in the Midwest have a hard time achieving that “cool” status. Milwaukee looked like it could be cool for a second when Coo Coo Cal burst on the scene with “My Projects,” but Coo Coo Cal turned into a one hit wonder and Milwaukee was quickly forgotten. Despite it being an obvious obstacle, Kalo reps his city proudly on “Brew World Order” and looks to be the next Milwaukee rapper to blow.
Kalo’s style is hard to categorize, mixing everything from west coast gangster, Midwest rapid fire, and conscious rap. “Letter to My Favorite Rapper” is an interesting take on the current state of rap music:
“To my favorite rapper, I’m writing you so please don’t snap on me
To say what’s happening, you the one that got me rapping, B
Back in the day in the CA, my block was hot, I had no pops
Just tube socks and my fucking boom box
I pressed play and got away from where I stayed day to day
And now you say the shit opposite of what you said back in the day
You a pro hood, now you no good for sixteen
Making hoes move on pro tools to get green
You have to understand, there was no man at my house, it hurt us
My father figure was the nigga spitting shit on them verses
And your curses made my mom break your tapes cause I love em
No harm, no foul, cause I’ll get my homies to dub em
Your video showed me how to be a man and I listened
Survive the hood, and not to be a victim of the system
We had welfare with no health care, we resided
In the ghetto, let me flip it to the fucking B-side”
I’m sure any fan of underground/conscious/back pack rap is tired of the whole “things used to be better” mind state, but Kalo get’s points for flipping things a bit. Kalo gets a bit too creative on the next track though as he tries to draw a link between American Idol not allowing rappers on the show and Americans hating rap on “Amerikkan Idol.” Both Kalo and guest DLO have solid verses/messages on the track but I don’t buy the theory AND I wouldn’t want rap to be made a mockery on American Idol.
Kalo shines at times, but still succumbs to generic street raps on a few songs. “Annuda Bitch” sounds like a rip off of Biggie’s “Another” and lacks the humor and over the top crassness of the original. “On The Street” is a track dedicated to all those who hate on Kalo and North Coast Entertainment. Controversy does sell, but few fans really care about labels beefing in Milwaukee so the track was unnecessary. “What If” is another street track with no redeeming value. Kalo’s fast flow is entertaining at times but “What if a nigga died? Would all my niggas ride?” are questions that have been asked and answered before.
Kalo’s “Brew World Order” definitely has its moments. Songs like “3 Headed” and “Brew World Order” showcase the more conscious and humorous side of Kalo’s style. Still, the good tracks don’t raise the overall release from merely being average. When Kalo falls to the temptation to put out street tracks he’s mediocre and warrants no attention. It’s not that I have anything against street rap, but Kalo doesn’t do it well. When he gets more creative he gets much better and puts together tracks you’d want to listen to more than once. With more of those creative tracks I could see Kalo gaining a larger fan base. For now I don’t see “Brew World Order” putting Milwaukee on the map, but it’s a step in the right direction and should earn the city some respect.