Kaboose seems like a guy that loves hip hop. Not in a “This-bumps-nice-in-my-ride” or “Rap-will-get-me-rich” way. No, for this Minnesota-bred mic-man it’s more of a “What-would-I-have-ever-done-WITHOUT-this?!?” mindset.
Not that it would elevate to idol worship that supplants the Creator, but I can’t help but imagine how fondly ‘Boose seems to have taken to the art form. Like a member of the deaf community discovering American Sign Language in his late teens, the mohawked mic-ripper comes off evangelistically passionate about his new mouthpiece. And on an album like Excuse Me, he flexes his maximum hip hop potential to convey thoughts on just about every facet of his life.
Topics range from his dual identity as a Native/Caucasian American to his appreciation for his record label, the varying level of intimacy he feels with his God, frustration with broken marriages, and the goofy shyness he experiences when his wife wants him to slow dance with her in public.
Is hip hop the absolute best method of expressing one’s feelings on such a wide range of subjects? Maybe. Maybe not. I doubt Kaboose gives a rip. It’s his form of communiqué and that’s that.
In times where it may not be ideal, he still seems committed to make it work, even if that means revealing his occasional weakness as an MC or having to bend his chorus into a sing-along.
In such cases, I can imagine Kaboose excusing himself with a line of reasoning I’ve heard attributed to folk MC Mat Kearny: [paraphrased] “At some point you have to quit worrying about rapping and just write what produces the best song.”
And it works, occasionally, on Excuse Me in tracks like the psalm-like “Reveal Yourself” and the apologetic “Don’t Go To Bed Mad At Me.”
Elsewhere, classic hip hop metaphors and wordplay are the right tools for the job.
“Wood Worker” benefits from a light hand. Expertly describing the first chapter of Genesis, Kaboose doesn’t hit the listener over the head with a verbal two-by-four spelling out the comparison. Instead, he wisely lets the consumer come to the analogy on his own. And for the spoken sparring session with RedCloud, “Intercontinental Grand Dragons,” the similes and vocal inflections are really the ONLY weapons for the war.
Sonically, the project carries the Syntax sound heard throughout the label’s decade of releases – most notably the Night Owls compilation series where Kaboose got an early intro. This should come as no surprise after learning this is the first fully in-house produced release from Syntax in several years. Boom-bap beats are provided by sirROCDOMZ, Shane Newville and Tommy Percival with accentuating cuts by DJ Promote.
Anyone with the tiniest bit of MC hiding within will want to grab a pen when he hears the tracks on Excuse Me. And if you’ve tapped into the power of hip hop to express the inner self, then you’ll be in the same tent as Kaboose with a notebook full of stories to tell.
1. It Went This Way
2. Be First 3. Goin Outta Control (feat. Royce Da 59”)
4. The Land of Lakes
5. Follow Me Now
6. Dont Go To Bed Mad At Me
7. Build It Up (feat. MaxOne of Sackcloth Fashion)
8. Precious Time
9. Simply Broken Down
10. Reveal Yourself
11. Two Sides
12. Give You
13. Wood Worker
14. Intercontinental Grand Dragon (feat. RedCloud)
15. Excuse Me (Do You Come Here Often)