[Album Review] Kevlaar 7 & Woodenchainz – “Sophisticated Movement” – ###1/2 Review
Sophisticated: Adjective of a person, ideas, tastes, manners, etc. Altered by education and experience, so to be worldly wise and not naive. Complex or intricate as a system process or piece of machinery.
The intro to this disc could not sum up Kevlaar 7’s lyrics any better. Worldy wise through education and experience, complex and intricate. This is the perfect description of an MC who prides himself on educating through his rhymes.
Kevlaar 7 only released his previous album Die Ageless in May of this year, and already he is back with another set, Sophisticated Movement. This time he’s hooked up with producer Woodenchainz who provides all the beats on this project. The two had previously worked together on Kevlaar’s last album, there were three Woodenchainz beats on Die Ageless – Kings, Federal Reserve Note and Now.
This album, although quite short at only 41 minutes, continues where they left off on Die Ageless… smooth soulful samples, bangin’ drums and a very cohesive vibe throughout the whole set. The spoken word intro is followed by a bangin’, ominous sounding instrumental that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The title track sets out the modus operandi for Sophisticated Movement: the people aren’t waiting for the dream any longer, they’re grabbing for it. Detroit’s Agony has a hardcore drum line with wailing synths battling with a subtle piano line underneath. Kevlaar is on fire here, spitting lines like “resurrect dead presidents / impressed at the decadence / celebrate no evidence…” and “Life’s thesis is get money, pieces of lead / A modest man works hard, succumbs to diseases…”.
On “Ask About Me“ we have Styles P. dropping a dope rugged hook and Bronze Nazareth spitting a great guest verse over a funky heavy reverb guitar riff and subtle soul sample. ”Responsibility” is a spoken word interlude over a smooth backdrop… and it leads straight into the next track, the supremely soulful “At Last”. A cool guitar lick and mellow vocal sample sets a perfect backdrop for Kevlaar’s poetic lyrics “hiding behind tomorrow with a bottle / closed minded, blinded, too careful / something got to give though, let us grow…” and “I see you from the clouds / and look down on the crowd / Etta’s up here singin’ / it’s euphoria now…”. As Kevlaar spits that lyric a beautifully placed sample of Etta James’ “At Last” bursts in to the track and then disappears again as quick as it came.
A wailing vocal sample provides a heavy backdrop on “Life’s On The Clock” which features Rain The Quiet Storm dropping an impressive guest verse. “El-Dog Music” is an interlude that employs a sample of a band covering The Beatles’ classic “Eleanor Rigby”, and then segues into a heavy, fuzzy guitar solo. This leads us into the next track, “We Ain’t Gonna Die,” featuring Illah Dayz. “It Be That Way (Shining)” is an ill posse cut featuring guest verses from Willie Waze, S-Class Sonny & June Megalodon.
“Boulevard Article 2″ features cuts and scratching from DJ Tricky over a funky horn heavy beat with booming drums and ill lyricism from Kevlaar… “It’s like Gemini’s televised across the skies at night / planets in orbit, I’m a bullet proof life…”
“AmeriKKKa’s Nightmare” is a final interlude which leads into the last two tracks, “Why” and “La, La, La.” “Why” is a personal favourite of mine and the highlight of the album for me. It feels like the previous three or four songs were building up to this peak. Kevlaar destroys the track in his first four lines… “Brush my life on the canvas / touching the Earth cause life’s so candid / inundated, both will never understand it / perfect planning, jump off the papel / burn a plantation, question everything…”.
“La, La, La” is another horn heavy beat, a little more up tempo but I can’t help but think that the previous track, “Why,” would have been a perfect album closer. The album actually closes with “A New Day (Outro),” a spoken word piece over a smooth affecting sample.
I hadn’t previously checked out a lot of Woodenchainz’ work prior to this album, but upon the evidence of these strikingly well crafted beats and the general cohesiveness of the whole album, Woodenchainz certainly cements his name on my ‘Producers to look out for’ list. His beats on here bang hard, his sample choices fit the tone and theme of the tracks flawlessly and his drums and snares hypnotise the listener into connecting with Kevlaar’s lyrics. The lyrics and beats complement each other impeccably.
It’s hard to pick out single quotes from Kevlaar’s lyrics because as usual with Kevlaar, and especially on this album, pretty much every line is a quotable. He has a knack for making even the most mundane thing sound ill in his rhymes. Kevlaar continues to put out project after project filled with lyrical ideas and thematic concepts that force the listener to think, explore and ultimately educate themselves more. This is a skill that very few other MC’s can claim to inherit and whilst other MC’s can come across as preaching, Kevlaar genuinely seems concerned with the struggle and trying to educate the masses through his rhymes.
Sophisticated Movement is a surprisingly great album, from start to finish, and hopefully the first of many collaborations between these two gifted artists.
Rating: ###1/2 out of #####
Best Tracks: Detroit’s Agony, At Last, Why
- Sophisticated Movement (Intro)
- Sophisticated Movement feat. Shake Cee & The Wise Kids
- Detroit’s Agony
- Ask About Me feat. Styles P. & Bronze Nazareth
- Responsibility (Interlude)
- At Last
- Life’s On The Clock feat. Rain The Quiet Storm
- El-Dog Music (Interlude)
- We Ain’t Gonna Die feat. Illah Dayz
- Be That Way (Shining) feat. Willie Waze, S-Class Sonny & June Megalodon
- Boulevard Article 2
- AmeriKKKa’s Nightmare (Interlude)
- Why feat. Salute The Kidd
- La, La, La
- A New Day (Outro)