Bar Exam: KB – His Glory Alone (First Listen Album Review)
It’s been three years since we’ve had an album from KB. I’m really stoked to hear what he’s been cookin’ up, and while I feel like we can always expect something nice to come from anything he creates, I’m ready to dive in and take a closer look.
For those of you unfamiliar with my bar exams, I am sharing all of my notes from my true first listen to the project. I provide in-depth thoughts and commentary on anything from flows, rhymes, beats, creative direction, track placement, and concepts.
Let It Reign – Starts with a chipmunk sample of Michael W. Smith. “Open the floodgates of heaven.” The intro is huge and epic. “We see the dead raised here, another day at the office” He’s effortlessly moving back and forth between flows and melodies over the top of a beat that sounds like Rocky taking the ring. Bizzle with the feature here. This song doesn’t let up.
Lil Boy – Sounds like a Lecrae tune. He wants men to live with integrity and high character. I thought it started out with a hook and then got into a verse, but I’m not sure there’s a hook here, just a tag he keeps going back to. It’s another big and heavy track.
10K – Not gonna lie, I was never really a fan of the song “10,000 reasons.” But this version bangs. For real, with the beat big and the melody anthemic, KB is spazzing.
Peace, peace, Jesus, that’s my creed, ooh, Michael B/ Yeah, He bossin’, don’t be a clown, boy, you’re not it/
Worship in a mosh pit, I’m in His palm like the tropics/ Men and women get in it, they get it, then they live again/
Good and generous definitive, that’s from the Genesis/ Unlimited, inhibited, look at all of these witnesses/
Give you the businesses, Satan bodied, homie, He finished it
This Is Life – We leave that worship sample to be introduced to another one. This one is “So Will I.” I really dig how he hasn’t let up yet. He’s got something to say, and he’s really leaning into the vocals whether he’s spitting or singing. The bars come and go so quickly and everything is so sonically large it’s hard for me to catch everything getting thrown at me. The beat is changing textures as it progresses, adding trumpets, and a wall of vocals at the end.
Armies – OK. This is just a worship album. This track is sampling Chris Tomlin’s “God Of Angel Armies.” There’s a fire in the booth.
Life ain’t been the same since death died/Won it by a landslide/hallelujah to the flex my/
The power made a point, next slide/Yeah, yeah, yeah, reppin’ this side/
Shoes ain’t Gucci, I just keep my foot on reptiles/Coming for my neck now/When the game about to end, you expect fouls
Chills, man. All gas no brakes here. It’s impressive to choose to creatively go this direction and come at it as tough as he is. He’s breathing life into these old praise songs, dusting them off, and holding them up for his audience to see like he’s proud of them. It feels like the warm embrace needed in the middle of the divisiveness of this year.
Masterpiece – We’ve finally pulled it all the way back. We’re in an empty concert hall and listening in on a session with KB, and a piano. It’s a song for his daughter. She’s a masterpiece. This song grows into a symphonic performance, then the beat drops in towards the end. I can’t wait to play this one for my daughter.
Libre – I had to Google “Yo Soy Libre.” It means “I am free.” The beat has some room to it, with some strings plucking over the top. Deep South sound. Tommy Royale sounds dope. I don’t know Spanish though. Makes me wish I did.
Yes Song – This is a deep cut for worship tunes. Vertical Church has been making great music for years though, and it’s a great choice. The other worship tracks had a darker trap sound to them when this one is a tad more poppy. He’s also a little more deep and emotional on this one.
“Let it all go dark round me/hand in my face I can’t see/I have nothing left to bring/
God almighty please/You have my baby and you won’t miscarry me/but it’s so hard to believe.”
Dark Skin – Starts out with an ominous tone. He’s pontificating over the top of a piano with no beat. He’s talking about someone trying to wash the black off of her body. The instrumental is shifting and growing as he digs in. He’s getting political. “Ain’t no left or right side in heaven.” There was a lot that needed to be chewed on in this track, but it came and went so quickly. I’ll have to go back later.
We Right Here – The gang vocals on “We Right Here” sound like he brought the army back from earlier. He’s coming at the track with charisma and braggadocio because nothing can stop him. Another really big beat. “Life ain’t been the same since the flesh died.” He sorta repeated a line here, but I don’t mind. I feel like all of these songs point to each other in some way. Just like that, right as I’m getting used to how a song sounds, it switches up for a moment, and then it’s done.
Loyal Til The End – I love how these tracks haven’t been formulaic. KB hasn’t built any two songs the same way on this entire record and it’s refreshing. Jon Keith is on the second verse and does his thing. He didn’t just phone that in either, switched up the flow twice.
The Name – KB comes straight in at the top here. He’s so good at knowing when to even change his tone to elevate the track. It would have sounded dope if he would have stayed low, but for that emotional boost, he raises the pitch slightly to keep the listener engaged. This one isn’t a sample of a worship tune, it’s got Koryn Hawthorne actually on it here.
Si Cancion – This is the Spanish version of “Yes Song.”
To conclude, the themes that stood out in this album to me were worship and unity. There’s nothing like giving your heart away in worship, and nothing promotes unity in the body of Christ better. That’s a sentiment that all Christians can grab onto, but more than that, these tunes are actually ones that most would listen to anyway. This is probably the most complete album in KB’s discography. He’s got some hits elsewhere, but I never have felt like every song on each album fits with each other. He did a great job compiling all of these together.
However, the one anomaly I took notice of is how “Lil Boy” was a good track on its own, but I’m not sure it fits with the rest of the project theme-wise. Nonetheless, His Glory Alone is both an album I can proudly bump for my hip hop head friends, and my mom. It’s a big feat to be able to live in both camps comfortably. This album is KB at his true self, sharing the highs and lows of his life and pointing to God through it all. A nearly perfect album. Go hit play on this and enjoy.
Overall Rating: Above The Bar
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