A super group is defined as being a music group comprised of members who had already gained fame or notoriety as solo artists or members of another group. This phenomenon is not new. In the rock n roll genre, many super groups ranging from Cream to Velvet Revolver have all had enormous success. In hip hop, this again has already been discovered with groups like The Firm and discussions of collaborations that never happened, like the Notorious B.I.G.’s The Commission, all the way to today with C.R.S. (Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and Pharrell Williams). Now you can add Ali of the St. Lunatics and Big Gipp of the Goodie Mob to the list of successful attempts. With the solid, but often one-sided Kinfolk, the St. Louis and Atlanta natives set out to expand upon their studio magic from past collaborations and create some material that is worthy of universal appeal.
The album starts off with the poet Big Rube, who has appeared on numerous Dungeon Family projects, setting the tone of the album with his countrified definition of kinfolk. This is followed by the solid Nelly and Pimp C featured “Hood,” a screwed and syrupy track that describes the habits and lifestyles of people around the way. Another notable track is “Almost Made Ya,” a delightful tale of love lost with a witty twist. Arguably, the last track “No God But You” might be the best one. While Gipp emotionally rhymes about legal troubles, “…Dressed in county blue, my lawyer dressed in cashmere/They can lock me in a box, but they won’t see a tear/Discuss my charges against me so I can see ‘em clear…,” Ali paints a picture of life as he sees it. This song truly catches the essences and the purpose of this whole experiment because of the cohesiveness that the two artists display.
But this album definitely has its disappointments. Mainly, it comes off as uneven by that it seems like a St. Lunatic project that just features Gipp. This is seen in the many appearances of St. Lunatic/Derty Entertainment artists and beats that are usually tailored for them. Even on the vast majority of the tracks, Gipp rhymes about subject matter that you would usually hear from a St. Lunatic, not a Goodie Mobster, such as cars, money, jewelry, etc. It is only on a handful of tracks that the listener hears the Gipp that they are most accustomed to from previous projects. Also, the numerous guest appearances on this album make it difficult for someone to really see how well these two work together.
Overall, this LP is solid, but it really does not follow the concept of a super group, or a group that is comprised of two respected MCs. By coming off as a Derty Entertainment compilation with Gipp being a featured artist, the idea of two likeminded individuals expressing their forms of hip hop never comes to fruition. But with concepts like this, it could only inspire others to push the boundaries creatively. So in some aspect, Kinfolk serves its purpose. – Ryan Harrison
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