June 2011 "Where Y'at Magazine" Review

This solo debut from hip hop group E.O.E.’s emcee Koan demonstrates the musician/ lyricist’s versatility and growing visibility in the southern hip hop scene. With musical and lyrical inclinations ripening at a young age, this multitalented hip hop artist quickly took to both poetry and several different instruments, including the saxophone and trumpet, in his childhood and teenage years, leaving him well-versed in more than just tight rhymes and fat beats. These influences resonate from the opening track: a wrenching, soulful piano solo introduces the lyrics and backbeat, which are then rounded out by an equally expressive trumpet-saxophone duet. This attention to high-quality production proliferates throughout the album—with the help of local producer Sean “Sean C” Carey—and is carried over into the killer collection of lyrics chosen for Koan’s solo debut. A man who finds great joy in the complex art of wordplay, Koan also takes pride in the street cred rightfully earned battling with his crew, The Daily Bread Unit. As he says himself in “Employed”: “Vocabulary like a juggernaut/And I spit it hotter than hellfire/So any emcee wanna test me, come and get expire/Malicious when I spit the sentences, vicious is limitless/ mental capabilities overwhelmin’ my nemesis.” Koan lyrically looks beyond themes of self-promotion, money and power—all-too common in rap and hip hop—and instead refreshingly addresses relevant, real-world topics, such as run-ins with corrupt and racist law enforcement (“Crooked Officer”) and the harsh reality of street life (“Employed”). One can only hope that Koan is not the last of a “dying breed” of local, intellectual hip hop artists.—Carolyn Heneghan    "Where Y'at Magazine"

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