Review ·

It's hard not to roll your eyes when you hear someone say they're a "conscious hip-hop artist." Those who make music on the other end of the spectrum are socially conscious, too, even if they're considered "gangsta." But if such a thing as "conscious hip-hop" exists, are the messages a bit hypocritical?


Welcome to Joyful Rebellion, the sophomore album from Toronto's one-man superstar K-Os. In twelve tracks, K-Os continuously bashes emcees and complains about the wrongdoings of hip-hop today. A bit complacent compared to Exit, his 2003 debut, and K-Os occasionally comes off as trying too hard while proclaiming his message, which we've all heard before. That said, the music on Joyful Rebellion is wondrous. It's snappy with jangling tambourines, Friday night hip beats and ass-hot saxophone ("Crabbuckit"), while the mandolins and sitar on "Love Song" add eloquence the his fluid raps.

The album's reggae feel adds depth, especially on "Crucial," when K-Os swoons, "I don't wanna change the world/ I only want to stop pretending." But possibly the best track on the album is "Dirty Water," where Sam "Bryan Adams the Second" Roberts steps up and sings a determined melodic chorus.

K-Os may have a message on Joyful Rebellion, but his music seems to be saying more than a lot of his words.

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"The Love Song" video (Windows)

"The Love Song" video (Real)

"B-Boy Stance" video (Real)

"B-Boy Stance" video (Windows Media)

"The Making of Joyful Rebellion" video (Real)

"The Making of Joyful Rebellion" video (Windows Media)

K-Os homepage

  • EMCEE Murdah
  • Crucial
  • Man I Used To Be
  • Crabbuckit
  • B-Boy Stance
  • Commandante
  • the Love Song
  • Hallelujah
  • Clap Ur Handz
  • Neutroniks
  • Dirty Water
  • One Blood (Jiggy Homicide)
  • Papercutz
Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama - There Will Be A Light Ponies in the Surf A Demonstration

7.0 does not do justice to this album, and K-Os does not constantly bash emcees. The only prevalent call-out in the whole album is Emcee Murdah (the name being self-explanatory). Another less obvious is B-Boy Stance (yo, party people listen up, at the drop of a dime/they took cameras to Africa for pictures to rhyme). If you look at this album from a hip-hop perspective, it is masterpiece. Some of the best out there. So my review is, Pop listeners should stick to Crabbuckit, while Hip-Hop heads should and will cherish this disc.


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