CD Review: Keyel

Cleveland City Conquerers

(keyelmusic.bandcamp.com)

A single line sums up this hip-hop collective's new album: "Three MCs and a DJ/That raw shit is back again." Backed by funky, chopped-up samples heavy on piano and strings, and mixed with futuristic synths, the quartet (HOLY, DJ Eso, Twizz, and P3453) recalls an era when rappers sounded like they were actually having fun. Coming on like a fusion of the Ohio hip-hop groups Fly.Union and Tanya Morgan, Keyel put a creative spin on girls, everyday struggles, and bravado rap ("Niggas acting so hard but looking like Keith Sweat/You can see their greased pecs hanging out their V-necks"). The subjects may not be groundbreaking, but when the rhymes are this good, they really don't have to be. — Jordan Zirm

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