By Jhantu Randall
Hawaii is best viewed as a paradise, a tropical getaway from the grind of the mainland. The true stories from the people who inhabit the 50th state can often be lost in the lore of the tourists who come and go but if the lava from Mt. Kilauea created the island chain then an artist like Son Da One is keeping its embers smoldering.
Born Kaleo March 7, 1980, this man’s words show that he is more than just your average rapper. His words possess power and as a true poet and lyricist, Son Da One does not wield this sword lightly on his debut self-titled album released January 8. The pen is his weapon and the page his canvas; it is through his words that he paints pictures, giving you views from that which was once paper walls. The opening track of this project is reminiscent of West Coast albums that many say are missing or becoming obscure. A lot of these sounds are derived from when Son Da One was raised in the East Bay Area and later on as an adult when he lived in California. Adding his flows, Son da One shows the precision of a lyrical assassin fused with a clarity and tone that is both inviting as well as strong and resilient.
“There Can Be” featuring Lacy Redhead shows a hope that is possible if one is aware of who they are and what they are living for. The chorus accompanied with the melody and production by SHC Records (Southern Humboldt County Records Producers G. Davis and DJ JustOne) show strong hints of what makes John Legend stand out. SHC Records This track will stay with the listener for a while after initially listening. Son Da One began working with SHC when he lived in Humboldt county for nearly ten years.
“Garden Island Riderz” is one of my personal favorites on Son Da One’s E.P. The energy, island sounds blended with strong, educated lyrics is a dream for a creative Hip Hop head. Tracks like this, laced with imagery and history give a true fan of hip hop something to sustain their hunger, defining purity to the Art of Rap. Once more, it is songs like this that show that Hip Hop is the voice for all peoples indigenous or oppressed, to share their stories to a wider audience who may not otherwise hear it.
“Loud Crash” is a definite riding-to-the-club song. Everything about this, from the beat to the braggadocious verses scream dance, have fun and stunt!
“Red Skies” is probably one of the most essential tracks in this entire project. The slower beat pushes an artist to dig deep, peel the layers and give you their inner thoughts. It is in this space where they take the risk by being the most vulnerable. What makes this song, beyond just the honesty, is the raw ability for Son Da One to look inward and share his deepest thoughts engrained in his subconscious and share them unabashed to an audience filled with listeners who he may never meet who relate still.
“Never Fearful” featuring Little Kidd Lost and Mikasun is the perfect close to this E.P. Everyone on this track leaves their own unique imprint while blending and playing off each other seamlessly. This track can leave the listener looking forward to a full-blown album that allows fans to see deeper within the lyrical mind of Son Da One.
Kaleo means “The Voice” and it is evident that with this in mind, Son Da One knows what he has been sent to do. Each song is so meticulous it shows that he does not waste words or chords; what he says he means without question. Son Da One shows what it means to be an author on the mic, each album another chapter in a compilation formed from many personal books he has chosen to share with the world.
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