Cinoevil is an up and coming hip-hop artist from Freehold, NJ, while Khezie Beats is an up and coming producer from Johannesburg, South Africa. The two linked up through Instagram after Khezie saw one of Cinoevil’s freestyles. From there they clicked instantly and within a few months, they became great friends and created their 11 track album, “Wounded Healer”. Hip-hop is very much defined by its two sects. Those who want bars, and those desire vibe and melody. Not many dare to bring the two together, yet some of the more ambitious rappers have definitely made an effort. Few though, succeed as well as Cinoevil and Khezie Beats. The two certainly make a statement about the game, while combining two opposing sides of a split genre into one. And they do it brilliantly.
The sound of “Wounded Healer” is very important. Khezie Beats’ tastes find an outlet in a variety of styles. Bold, bright and bursting with distinctive production touches, he makes smart use of both the instrumentation and the percussion.
Through electro to neo-soul, and R&B to hip-hop and trap, Khezie Beats weaves, cuts, chops and flows in and out of an abundance of sounds. From beginning to end, his blends come together in very smooth ways. You can tell there’s a clear progression going on, and it never stays around the same idea.
Khezie Beats’ attention to detail will keep listeners nodding their heads throughout, as he makes “Wounded Healer” an intoxicating listen from start to finish. To add more fuel to the fire, alongside the production brilliance, we have an artist like Cinoevil, who seems to be creating with a clear mind which lends an even stronger sense of purpose to the album.
Cinoevil’s verse on the intro track, “Throne (Drink Your Blood” sounds like a spoken-word performance, giving room for the rapper’s words to impact listeners, before the cinematic music set in. At that point Cinoevil breaks into a machine gun flow.
“Pipe Down” flips the script with a bouncy beat, a growling bassline and a melodically sung delivery from Cinoevil. On the other hand, “See You” blends a hazy heartrending melody with astute bars, while underneath, Khezie Beats constructs an ethereal but slamming beat.
Within only 3 songs, the rapper and the producer, are able to unleash the power of their skillsets. And on “No Retraction”, Cinoevil unpacks his extraordinary lyricism and storytelling prowess. The metaphor embedded in the track is profound, while the irresistible and subtle slow-burning beat caught my ear right from the get-go.
The middle of the record is some of the best rap and melodically induced hip-hop music I’ve heard all year. On tracks like “Commiseration”, “You’re Gunna Pay For It”, and “Bronco”, Cinoevil captures listeners with his poetic style of flowing, and melodic singing, giving us both a nostalgic and a futuristic feel.
Cinoevil’s emotion radiates right off his voice, on “Darling”, as he morphs between melodic and hard bars. On “Flood Control”, Khezie Beats brings a moody Latin flavor to the production, while Cinoevil rides the beat effortlessly.
“All In” paints another strikingly vivid portrait, as Cinoevil shifts the song’s tone to match his lyrics. The effect is mesmerizing. “Welcome to America” delivers a gritty, more urgent and energetic flow, awash with conscious sentiments.
On the technical level, the album’s production, mixing and mastering is precise and balances evenly from start to finish, while the sonic choices are diverse enough to keep your ears engaged but never stray too far off the deep end to take you out of the listening experience.
All-round, the weight of the words is matched by the sound of the production on “Wounded Healer”. With this offering, we’re given a clear and extensive introduction to the skills of Cinoevil and Khezie Beats.