Kenny Beats - Louie Music Album Reviews

Kenny Beats - Louie Music Album Reviews
An in-demand beatmaker who has worked with Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, and more, the producer finally releases his solo debut—a dynamic record bursting with soul samples and complicated emotions.

Kenny Beats has his eye on eternity. Over the last five years, the 31-year-old producer has emerged as one of hip-hop’s most in-demand beatmakers, an ideal collaborator for artists looking to meld genres and eschew chart trends. He’s released one-off singles with Dominic Fike, JPEGMAFIA, and slowthai, made collaborative projects with Denzel Curry, Vince Staples, and Rico Nasty, and created a content empire that’s lofted him into rarified air: He’s Gen Z’s Rick Rubin, a Twitch streamer’s Madlib. On his YouTube series “The Cave,” he makes beats in real time for artists like Mac DeMarco and Doja Cat; on his Twitch channel, he hosts beat battles, gifts high-level recording equipment to aspiring musicians, and offers practical advice and motivating pep talks. “These communities are things I never dreamed about when my biggest dream was [to] have a platinum plaque, make a million dollars,” Kenny said in a recent interview. “My dream now is: Holy shit, I can have this be self-sufficient way after I’m dead.”

Kenny had yet to drop a solo project until now. The classic producer compilation tape didn’t appeal to him; why gather a bunch of verses from famous rappers when he’d already been doing this for years, across a variety of platforms? “I always said that I wouldn’t do a solo album because I didn’t have anything to say,” he wrote in advance of Louie, his full-length debut. “Finally, I did.” After his father was diagnosed with cancer in 2021, he found the inspiration he’d been looking for. Louie pays homage to Kenny’s father—a former broadcaster—through radio-DJ-style transitions and old recordings of his voice, but the album’s no requiem; it’s a joyous, funky, and texturally dynamic record bursting with soul samples, warm studio instrumentation, and a range of complicated emotions. Although plenty of features are sprinkled throughout, each guest works in service of Kenny’s larger mission: to create a universe both solemn and celebratory, comprising abstract rhythms and melodic detours, unexpected transitions and cohesive eclecticism. With each listen, the universe expands, unveiling new details and surprises lodged within his sample-based beats.

Early on, Louie soaks in the sun, assembling songs from pitched vocals, mangled guitars, warm Rhodes, and live horns. “Hold My Head” blends an exuberant singing sample with high-octane drums and a string of inscrutable bars from Pink Siifu. Two other early highlights, “So They Say” and “Hooper,” mesh giddy percussive grooves with retro soul harmonies. These songs don’t climax as much as they constantly bend into new, playful variations: a waft of wistful keys, a jolt of digitized effects, a barely audible vocal chant that propels the beat toward conclusion. Even when Kenny does his best J Dilla and Madlib impressions—like on the Shades of Blue-indebted “Moire” or the Donuts-inspired “Drop 10”—his creations are idiosyncratic. A quirky, bouncy bassline, a crisp doubled snare, a custom-made saw synth; Louie’s stuffed with little treasures like this, subtle choices that feel like diamonds when you unearth them.

Though the album is mostly instrumental, Kenny incorporates his guests in unique and deceptive ways. On the mid-album standout “Still,” JPEGMAFIA shouts energetic catchphrases over a simple drum line and tender backing vocals from Omar Apollo. Just as JPEG launches into a verse, though, the beat cuts out and stalls into a grainy sample. “Get Around” features Dijon, whose layered cries undergird twangy guitars and musky breaks, his voice a mere stitch within the song’s intricate tapestry. It’s rare for producers to deploy vocal talent in such an oblique manner, but Kenny weds his crate-digging affinities with his collaborative impulses, adding the artists’ most compelling strengths to his overflowing cauldron of sounds and samples.

The sequencing on Louie leaves something to be desired. The first 10 songs feel like their own contained album, wrapping up with the elegiac “Eternal,” which flips a Shira Small deep cut into a gorgeous ode to the afterlife. The record’s B-side more actively weaves in recordings of Kenny’s father, adopting an FM-radio framework and musings on childhood and the past that are rarely seen in the preceding songs. It’s a forgivable incongruity, though, because the beats in the back half are consistently excellent and build upon the record’s foundation. “Really Really” is another flawless emulation of Dilla, while “Rotten” mimics a Voodoo-era D’Angelo number. There’s not a skip in sight; each song collages into the next, changing in pace and tone while cycling through obscure samples and inventive backbeats.

Louie closes on “Hot Hand,” a percussive, chant-laden song that synthesizes the emotions burbling below the album’s surface. It’s designed to make you clap, stomp, dance—anything that lets you lose yourself inside the elasticity of the rhythm. What’s more healing, more affirming, than this sort of communion? Kenny thought he needed to have something to say before putting out a record; turns out the message was always there, just waiting to be channeled into a series of ecstatic grooves.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Kenny Beats - Louie Music Album Reviews Kenny Beats - Louie Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 14, 2022 Rating: 5


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