It was an unexpectedly warm day in Kansas City, one that made you not care a thing about California. I zoomed down the highway, careful not to exceed the speed limit. The breeze coupled with the 80-something-degree temperature had me in good spirits. Windows rolled down, I blasted the latest release from local artist Kartez Marcel through my speakers: Over Moons.
Being a fan of neo-soul, jazz, and what old millennials would label "authentic hip hop," I approved of Kartez Marcel the first day I heard his music around this time a year ago. The town had its own Kendrick Lamar. It's not even that Kartez's music really emulates the modern day legend. Truthfully, it's just that Kartez's style, lyricism, and holistic artistic ability is just Kendrick Lamar level good.
Over Moons - a short, but very sweet 7-track production - validates this notion.
The album begins with "On Me," a feel good track that seranades listeners with saxophone and piano. Then the beat drops. Kartez sets the scene, one that most men can relate to: He just wants to chill. Wife is buggin. So, he lets the music zone him out.
Spirits lift on "The Reign," a reminder that no matter what we endure, we good:
Trouble headed my way, wanna bring me way down.
Gravity got a hold of me, pullin' me way down.
The reign is coming, see the sky is fallin.
We got battle scars from every war we fought in,
but we good.
Next up is "Daze Off." Here, Kartez shows off his breathing skills in the first verse as he fires off lyric after lyric without even a hint of pause. In the second verse, he seamlessly switches up rhyme patterns four times, exemplifying much range and depth. Check out the music video below.
After "Pops Skit" featuring the hilarious The C in Comedy (check out his YouTube videos here), the music resumes with "This I Know" and it's full of summer time 90s vibes.
"Free to Write" is one of my favorite tracks. In a word, it's instrumental and musically feels similar to "On Me."
Over Moons concludes with "Comebakc." With a west coast bounce, Kartez reminisces on elements of life that most 80s babies can relate to like watching Rap City and MTV Cribs after school. There's a beautiful break down near the end of the track in which he borrows lines from Queen Latifah's "Around the Way."
All in all, Over Moons is a delightful project. It's real. It's uncompromising. And the whole family can enjoy it because there's not one curse word.
Five mics, bro.
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