“Flight Risk” is the 7 track project from KAMAKAZi KEi of the collective, U.G.L.Y. Element based out of Richmond, VA. The rapper hit a home run with this one. This is one of those albums that drops at the perfect time, at least for me. The album is dark and at times really out there, both sonically and lyrically. Production from the over half a dozen of producers is superb, while these songs challenge you with really intriguing and thought provoking instrumentals. I love it when an emcee dares to put out something that is the opposite of Top 40 approachable. Something that might threaten the casual listener and challenge the heads. Few rappers carry his untamed aura, his unpredictable lyricism, and a voice that that twists and turns with personalized nuances. He doesn’t have to follow any of the rules that major label artists are forced to treat as law, so it’s always raw, it always KAMAKAZi Kei.
As “10 PiLLØWS” [Prod. samsungsosa] slides in on a slow bass growl KAMAKAZi Kei’s voice jumps right out at you like a monster emerging from the ground. His voice sounds like it’s seeping into the darkest area of the brain where only the dimmest low glows. KAMAKAZi Kei shows that he can paint a picture like no other.
The album’s production is as versatile as the rapper’s voice, and on “øøøuuWeeee” [Prod. YUNG GLIZZY], KAMAKAZi Kei steps up the intensity, while the beat settles into a claustrophobic groove. This is some raw hip-hop shit.
I loving the way Kei is kicking the pocket on “Keep 1 in the Chamber” [Prod. ReeseyGotIt]. The album’s urgency is moving towards peak levels now. KAMAKAZi Kei takes the art of rapping seriously, and he went to great lengths to bring these tracks to life.
Ultimately, it would be wrong to reduce his lyricism to just bars. He tells stories. He’s introspective, and often confrontational. He knows, and clearly states on “Bøøf Pack & Mangøes” [Prod. ConCorD] that “Opps can’t relate though”. The eerie propulsion of the track seems designed to irrevocably drag the listener into KAMAKAZi Kei’s psyche and deep-welled emotionality
There are so many twists and turns with the production on this album, you don’t know what will jump out from around the corner. But the one constant is the scintillating hi-hats and that 808-styled low-end that throbs under the rhymes. It does so again on “Nø Mystery! [Prod. $EGADOR].
The beat is so strangely alluring, while the smoke-filled wordplay is great, on a topic that runs disturbingly deeper. The play on words gets even smarter on “QuCumber” [Prod. MikeWavs], where the production weaves in the most unlikely keyboard sounds and motifs. Yet the whole thing gels perfectly, and works.
“RØLL SUMN // SMØKE SUMN” closes the album on a high note – in every sense – and once again shows off KAMAKAZi Kei’s imaginative take on vices. This is an experience, because you are hearing a beat that is tailored made for lyricism. And as a rapper, Kei doesn’t miss a single step.
The songs on “Flight Risk” are probably not for everyone, but they stand as some of the most fearlessly created hip-hop tracks of the year. This is a dark, introspective record, affronting demons and vices, from a rapper who shows no compromise.