By Jhantu Randall
If 2019 was coined a “Hot Summer” in Seattle, Washington, it was because the Pacific Northwest was gearing up to set themselves to a boil with that hot heat project rappers Chris Kemp and Dirtay dropped, “No One Is Safe,” produced by Almari. This time Chris linked up with Northwest artist AeonRaps to present a new project, “No Offense, No Apologies” (2022).
I’ve kept my ear to Kemp’s career in rap for 15-years, listening to different types of projects he has released, however, it is this particular project with Aeon that gives him and all the other artists involved room to shine. Each song on this six-track EP has its own sound which fills out an overall vibe that “No Offense, No Apologies” carries.
“Pay No Mind” is the opening track in which Aeon and Chris set out on what sounds like a freestyle, building a bridge to what is about to follow.
“War Ready (feat. Cory Tate)” is an instant stand-out as there is not one verse that feels like it is dragging down another. Each one holds a story weaved within the wordplay that once put together, matches the cinematic production.
Every track on this project plays out like a movie in the listener’s head. The rappers are the authors and scribes that through their verses, breathing in life simultaneously with metaphors that construct this world that is developed in the theater of the listener’s imagination in their minds. Nothing is more evident of that than the next two tracks, “Stepper” and “Blitz.”
Nearing the end of the album, the track, “Over (feat. Young Cas),” is a personal favorite. In this song, Chris, Aeon and Young Cas came ready to rhyme. Spitting in a voice that is truly personified by each rapper as the energy continuously builds in between the verses. This is the track that will probably bring listeners back again and again, catching all the nuances of the three emcees, and celebrating the art of Emceeing.
The title track, “On Offence, No Apologies (feat. Savelli),” closes the album out and puts an exclamation point to the vision of the album. Aeon, Chris and Savelli all put out pieces of their closing visions which all play out like a mood settling. This piece is a hauntingly impactful eulogy that ties the EP together, something in it that resonates on some level throughout every part of it.
According to Chris, all these artists have worked together or amongst each other for years so this project seamlessly comes together and is just an example of the synergy all these creative minds possess. Specifically in Chris’s growth as an emcee is the addition of details where he is able to flesh out an experience that is presented in his lyricism. The expansion of concepts and ties to historical Hip Hop references is a prime example of how much deeper the artist has become as a songwriter.
“When it comes to rap, I want to paint my verses so they play out like a movie, most others are chasing other rappers, I’m chasing Nolan and Kurosawa,” states Chris.
Visualizing the song really adds another contextual layer onto his projects that the listener can experience. There is a sense of expectation due to the diligence, direction and attention to detail when Chris Kemp, Aeon and everybody else involved get together and create a piece for the public, not only to consume but sit with and appreciate.
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