King Mushu is the founder of UnderGround Paradise Records, a small label made up of extremely aware individuals who are actively involved in their community, facing issues like drugs, homelessness and injustices. Among their many achievements, they have sent hundreds of gallons of water to Flint, Michigan, and have been helping feeding homeless people since 2015. “The idea,” say King Mushu, “is to give back to the community as much as possible. We all have a mission in life, understand yours.” The label, whose motto is “One team, one microphone”, recently released the album “The Rise of King Mushu” Part 1. “The album is part of a trilogy which correlates with the rise and fall of the sun, representing the fire that the King Dragon spits,” explained King Mushu.
Quite literally one of the most brilliant albums I have heard in the genre, at the open of this fresh new year. Its life affirming, and every listen reveals another layer of intricacy. King Mushu comes out swinging from the first song, a great balance between classic Hip Hop and modern feels.
King Mushu explores well thought-out ideas through his songs in innovative ways, you can definitely get the feeling he has lyrical substance he wants to express. Although we’re in a dismal era of Rap and Hip-hop currently, this could be one of those instant classic type of records. It’s ambitious, epically produced, and showcases a bunch of excellent features.
“The Rise of King Mushu” Part 1 contains a quietly strong list of guests, who truly rock. From CharliSoSauce and Eboni, to Fox LegacyThaBoss, Marlo and Rochelle Denise, they make sure the album has the proper embellishments to elevate it to a higher level. Throughout the album, King Mushu is suggesting, replying and reacting – self-aware but also self-assured.
The album opens with “Rokm Intro” and “The Rise of King Mushu”, which lays out the premise for the recording. The latter sees King Mushi already spitting lyrical fire early on with an unstoppable flow, as establishes his superiority as King Mushi. The rapper looks at how everyone sees him, but he also dissects how he sees himself.
“Thank You” carves such a hypnotic groove that it will have you nodding your head so hard it might sever at the neck. “Smoke With Me Skit” brings us to “Smoke With Me King Mushu”, undoubtedly one of the album’s absolute highlights. There is nothing this track lacks – from the bass booming production, to the angsty flow, the vivid lyrical imagery, and the mesmerizing melodic hook. It’s a total winner.
“Insommia Skit” draws us into “Look At Me”, driven by a banging drum beat, a high key mellifluous harmony, and King Mushi’s smoothly flowing bars. Another killer track. “Materialistic” drags us right into soulful, and soul-searching territory, with Rochelle Denise’s warm vocal cords a perfect backdrop to King Mushu’s personal musings.
From “Forever Skit” we move to “50 Shades of Eboni”, which showcases another show-stopping performance combination between King Mushi and Rochelle Denise. “Mi Casa” is absolute fire, and gleefully asserts King Mushi’s dominance over his craft, while he exclaims incessantly: “my house is a castle.”
The album closes with the abrasive flow of “#TeamYakura” which reprises the magic of King Mushi with Rochelle Denise. Like the prophets of old, all throughout this album, King Mushi uses a range of rhetorical devices to convey the urgency of his messages.
King Mushi is a masterful storyteller, and that skill is on full display here. Seemingly on a lyrical warpath, King Mushi’s lessons come steeped in allegory, hyperbole and metaphor on “The Rise of King Mushu” Part 1. Whether we, as individuals, or a people, are prepared to take heed, remains to be seen.