Ka shouldn't make the same mistake twice since 'Honor Killed The Samurai'
By Alex Dionisio
With a new album out for 2016, Brownsville, Brooklyn emcee and beatmaker Ka (Kaseem Ryan) won’t let anything deter him because just last year he released with producer Preservation the album Days with Dr. Yen Lo and two years prior to that he dropped The Night’s Gambit, his third solo LP. The rapper, whose style draws from the likes of Raekwon and Roc Marciano with an emphasis on philosophy, meaning and complex wordplay, is consistent with his past style on his fourth album, Honor Killed The Samurai (Aug. 13, Iron Works Records). It might be a little too much like his previous work, but a lot of deep lyrics greet the ears here nevertheless.
Ka gives us a lot to think about and study. His rhyme game is on point in all his poetic lines so don’t expect to “get” everything on the first listen. The replay value gives H.K.T.S. some shelf life. The general feel is somber and downtrodden, made that way in large part by Ka’s slow low-key beats, but his words definitely have an impact. Ka sort of straddles the fence between good and bad in the ghetto. He refuses the evil ways of the hood at multiple points but expresses a commitment to street code elsewhere, like when he discusses the politics of drawing a weapon in “Destined.”
Mostly though, Ka is a man of useful messages. In “$,” he wants money only to fix his conditions, not for extravagant lavish ends, and the way that he raps about the underworld workings of the hood has an amount of tonal sadness and grief from his deep seeded perspective and attitude. Ka has produced and rapped another successful album with Honor Killed The Samurai. There does seem to be a dichotomy in Ka switching back and forth between participating in and removing himself from project-menaces, and he may be too convoluted in rhymes when he’s speaking his pieces, but this album is certainly in line with Ka’s record of delivering quality rap.