by Jack Carenza Courtesy of TodaysHipHop.com
Hailing from the East New York section of Brooklyn Carnegie Kid comes with a unique brand of rap that is simultaneously classic and innovative. A true student of music as a whole he lists his biggest influences as Prince and Michael Jackson. Blending unique song premises with witty word play, and impeccable delivery he braggadociously reps his L>FTFi<LD brand (pronounced “Leftfield”). As a former blogger for Huffingtonpost his unorthodox perspective allows him to effortlessly navigate subject matter which was previously unexplored in hip-hop. Creating a new edgy, avant-garde style of rap that he plans to use a revolutionary tool for the entire genre.
It is common practice for a rapper to claim their city. To inject their sound with its essence, to rock the fitted cap, to fall within the style of their regionality. Often, it feels like this practice is compulsory rather than authentic – and tends to generate music that feels vacantly familiar, like an off-brand cola. In a borough like Brooklyn, rappers are a dime a dozen, and it takes creativity at its purest form to stand out. Rather than infuse his music with his city, Brooklyn-born Carnegie Kid truly personifies the city. It oozes through in his confidence, approach, delivery, and lyricism. Carnegie is defined by his city, which in turn distinguishes his music, rather than leaning on his roots with purposelessness.
Last month, saw Carnegie Kid drop his sophomore album, Prince of Kings County. Thematically, the album is supported by a multifaceted, dual notion of God’s representation. Carnegie utilizes superb contrast in beat selection to support his lyricism, which sets that platform for tracks that reflect on the dichotomy of God’s purpose from both sides of the coin.
About his work, Carnegie states, “I try to attack the premise from both optimistic and pessimistic angles, creating a theme of juxtaposition”. This approach influences a listener to reflect on the natural contradictions that exist within religion, life and in ourselves. Every thought, every action is countered by its opposite, and Carnegie explores this clash with superb lyricism, particularly in pairing opposite topics in Ezekiel 25:17 vs. My God and Pritty vs. Climax. In Pritty, Carnegie raps: (“heartthrob yessir, skinny and pretty as ever”), exhibiting self-appreciation, and inward confidence, which he then juxtaposes with Climax where this appreciation for beauty is outward, aimed at a woman; (“All praise to the Lord that designed that”). In his words, “The vanity of Pritty where I’m admiring myself is juxtaposed by Climax where I’m admiring someone else.” Every action has a counterreaction, and Carnegie does an excellent job reminding us of these natural paradoxes throughout Prince of Kings County.
Aside from strong lyricism, and thematic cohesion, Carnegie Kid utilizes a strong delivery and distinctive vocals, with his trademark baritone growl, and sprawling flow. The uniqueness of each beat allows vocals to thrive in different backdrops, and are supplemented by clean adlibs & dubs, and are well-mixed. The album is best listened to front-to-back, as the relationship of each song to its flip side becomes more apparent. All in all, Prince of Kings County is a thorough, thoughtful, and well-produced album, full of the grit, determination and poetic nature that defines Brooklyn hip hop.
For more on Carnegie Kid, you can find his music on all major streaming services and on Instagram. Be sure to check out this up and coming talent live Sunday September 26th at Swiingz located at 1542 Fulton Street in Bed-Stuy.