Philadelphia-based rapper, entertainer, actor, and dancer MC Knowledge has shown on multiple occasions that he is an old soul.
I say this in terms of flow architecture, and his beat selection — it would not be difficult to place the rapper, who we met in June when his Know The Ledge project was featured on Items Tagged Philadelphia — into the “backpack rap” category, due to his hip-hop golden era sound. And he brings more of it to the table in Dub Club, a three-song EP and his latest outing.
In terms of content, Knowledge takes the route of motivation and inspiration for young people struggling through poverty, instead of reveling in more provocative topics like drugs, violence, and women that many rappers dwell on. The Philly-based MC has obviously studied his 90s rap, because Know The Ledge takes its name from the 1992 Eric B. & Rakim song heard on the Juice soundtrack; on “Lord Willing” shouts out legendary Detroit producer J. Dilla.
The instrumentals on Knowledge’s EP are very drum-heavy and laid-back but also riddled with vintage soul samples and catchy vocal cuts which help form the hooks on the three-track project. Because it’s so heavily rooted in throwback, the vibe that Knowledge comes across as a bit dated, and even corny at times, reminding me slightly of Logic‘s early projects. As Logic’s career progressed, he moved away from a 90s style flow and image, shifting into a highly creative conscious rapper role.
Knowledge could easily take this route because the lyrical talent and musical ability is definitely there. The young MC just has to come up with a more cutting-edge and up-to-date sonic concept and run with it. While it may be tough for young rappers to break out of their comfort zone, it can be highly beneficial for an artist to do this as early as possible; especially in today’s rap game, no artist should be afraid to break some barriers. Knowledge is still young so make sure to keep up with this Philly MC and see how his career progresses.
Take a listen to Dub Club here and watch this heavily 90s-infused video for Knowledge’s “Poison”.
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