King Cotz – Soundcloud Singles – Singles Review
Last we checked in on this homie, he put the work in between the time we first heard King Cotz back in 2017 and his return in mid-2019 revealed the evolution the man on the m-i-c had gone through as an artist, by raising the stakes and releasing a set of songs that proved how much he’d developed his craft. In the mix and on our playlists for the second time this year; this time around, it’s about confirming that the hot streak was no fluke – we’ve got three new singles here – “Voices,” “Sinister,” & “Underground.” I refuse to play favorites today – so let’s dig into what’s happenin’ on these cuts in the order I got’em in.
“Voices” is a strong cut from KC…there’s a lot going right for this emcee on this first of three singles. In particular, he’s committed – and it makes all the difference in the world when we listen. As I’ve often said about using words like ‘insane’ or ‘crazy’ about how they should audibly sound like what they literally mean when being used, “Voices” follows that same logic here, presenting the tie-ins between the theme and execution through the layers of vocals from King Cotz and the shouting that dominates your mind just like you’d imagine hearing your own “Voices” might be like – you following me? As intense and frantic as “Voices” can seem at its most lively – you gotta also give this cat credit for creating a vibe that’s focused as it gets; as in, the King ain’t feelin’ the pressure, because he’s ready to hit these bars with confidence, precision, and the right punch of emphasis, madness, and mischief when he wants to get loud about it. What I’m sayin’ is, the performance matches the ambitions of the theme and clearly gets across what he’s looking to communicate and express with how “Voices” we hear in our heads can guide us, distract us, and play a role in who we are & what we do. “Will we fall, or will we learn?” as the King will tell ya on “Voices.” I’ll say this…he’s more or less inside of one specific gear of a rhyme-scheme, and ending each line and bar with a similar sound will always result in a few dissenters saying the complexity isn’t there – and to some degree, that can be true. But I’d counter with advising that staying in your lane or sticking tight to the idea and intentions of a track can be a major factor in what separates one tune from another and helps an artist stand out, even amongst their own material. As in, King Cotz chose to go at the bars in this specific direction this particular time around – don’t be hatin’ and assume he’s not going to switch it up on ya from here – this was what he wanted to work with on “Voices,” and for that matter, it worked – AND – dude sounds seriously impressive as he blazes through line after line. On the inside of a two-minute track, I reckon he makes enough moves with the actual flow; the shifts are subtle, but they’re there…the man expresses the madness of the “Voices” that surround us, while also providing ya with a mystique to the music and a slightly eerie vibe that helps support some of this single’s most otherworldly lyrics where KC will take ya right off the planet and on into outer space. The man takes revenge against the “Voices” trying to steer him one way or the other, by yellin’ straight at’em and callin’ them out – the King has been kicking ass all throughout 2019, and it’s clear that he’s not willing to let anything stand in his way, whether it’s your “Voices” or his “Voices,” he’s determined to go his own route and control his own destiny on his way to the top.
“Sinister” has some interesting potential and a spot where I’d encourage King Cotz to examine hard. What works really well are moments like the intro, the confidence you find KC spittin’ with, and the lyrics that detail some pretty grim imagery on what this life has been like for the man behind the mic and the madness of the world surrounding him. Here’s what I can tell ya…there are really two ways of getting the people’s attention when it comes to vocals – you can yell at’em, or you can bring to ya by finding a genuinely interesting part that pulls them in to listen. And that’s not me saying that the yellin’ can’t be interesting too – it can be; ultimately, I think that the flow of what King Cotz creates on “Sinister” works well…he’s not just yellin’ at ya, but as to whether or not his tone completely matches the vibe of the music here or maximizes the song’s potential in that respect…that’s harder to say and might be up for debate a lil’ bit. A lot of that oddness to the tone comes through the layered vocals, the less layers, the less you notice it…it’s close enough to being on target, but shows there’s still room for the King to get even better. Believe it or not though, I went through pretty much exactly two minutes worth of “Sinister” thinking that I was hearing another decent cut in KC’s catalog…and then that was right where it happened. Keep in mind, there’s about twelve seconds left in the entire track at this point – but the King stumbles into something authentic at the end by switching up his flow just enough that it really ends up working in a highly creative & unique way with the beat. What I can’t tell ya is whether that moment is intentional or not, given that it’s such a short section of the overall song – but what I’d be doing if I was KC would be taking a huge look at that moment…and then maybe ask what might have happened if that kind of movement & flow took place instead of the more straight-ahead and aligned with the beat approach. No doubt that what King Cotz is doing on “Sinister” has broad enough appeal…structurally, he’s pretty much sticking to the script and that’s always going to work out – but if he’s looking to really stand out like he should be, that next level is finding a way to work with the bars that the people won’t expect. I’m not saying that twelve seconds ends up defining the entire song, so much as I’m spying an opportunity that exists for the King. When I listen to “Sinister” I hear an emcee that’s in control and knows the moves he wants to make – and while that’s always a good thing, I’m simply arguing that the potential exists for KC to take his story further when it comes to his career and legacy in music. That extra drag on the words for that final twelve seconds or so…it’s kind of like trying to swim upstream in a way, that’s what it sounds like – but undeniably unique in combination with the beat and interesting to the ears for sure…it’s these kind of opportunities KC wants to jump on…time and patience are key when creating…re-creating…and etc. As for the main bulk of the song here, “Sinister” wasn’t quite “Voices” and it wasn’t quite “Underground” for me either…it’s a decent cut that is still entertaining, just maybe not as memorable as the other two. The pacing and movement of the man on the mic is the main highlight more than any one specific part of the song – which speaks strongly on behalf of what the King brings to his performances, but also to a cut that might not have the juice compared to the other tracks.
“Underground” is the cut I’d imagine people will respond to the most. Produced by Trunxks Beatz for the King Of The Beats contest, you can hear KC rise to the challenge and put in one of the most complex and dynamic flows in this set of singles we’ve got. The “story of an underground rapper trying to make it out” according to the main page at Soundcloud – King Cotz’s story is like many of yours out there; while I might advise caution about treading on ground where many boots have stepped before him – it’s what you do with your time that makes the difference, and that’s where he excels through the bars on this final single of the set/most-recent release. Around the fifty-second mark, that’s where things kick into the most intense gears from this emcee and certainly on this song; I have no doubt that the speed he reaches will likely go beyond most people’s comprehension, but if you’re listening, you’ll hear KC hittin’ the bars clearly and rampaging all over this beat. So it’ll take you at least four or five listens to catch everything he’s sayin’ – hell, maybe more than that – the bottom line is, he’s practiced, rehearsed, and ready for this moment on “Underground” – and what he’s doin’ is by no means any simple task. He’ll shift through different modes, speeds, and styles as he storms through “Underground” with huge strings of words comin’ at ya quickly, and KC making smart choices to dial-back the energy at different points to create that separation between moments as we listen. Speed is absolutely a factor and part of the allure here – King Cotz scorches through line after line with confidence and raw power, going for nearly a full two-minute stretch that will leave you wondering where he found the time to catch his breath in the song’s finale. I’d be taking a strong look at this entire track though if I was the King…this works – it’s wild AF, the beat is huge, the vocals are straight fire and confidence, the flow is wicked and the entire cuts makes an impact. Lyrically, sure maybe there’s the odd line in “Underground” that could be sharpened up a little bit…to me, it’s all about where the emphasis is falling…those are the words that you want to stand out, and in that respect, they need to be stand out words as well. When King Cotz is at his most intense, the dude sounds all-out unstoppable, hitting you with a freight-train barrage of words at max speed – but in those moments where things spread out in the music and we get a better chance to absorb those lyrics, that’s when you really wanna make sure they count. And that’s not me saying he doesn’t give you plenty of examples of this very point in full-effect, but I’m also saying there are a few spots where there could still be a way to elevate his craft even further. Think of the verse heading towards the ninety-second mark for example…it works, it fits, it sounds good – but could he hit these bars with a more enticing selection of words at the end of each line? Arguably yes, of course he’s capable. Especially when you do get a chance to hear the words he’s put into the most heated moments on the mic and the imagery he’s put into his lyrics…that’s when he’s really excelling and showing his skills both written & verbal. Ultimately, I think “Sinister” is decent, “Voices” is solid, and “Underground” is inarguably the best of the bunch – this final track is hands-down the most versatile in sound and performance, though it should be noted that it’s much more the verses that’ll pull you in than the main chorus hooks. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, especially in the world of Rap/Hip-Hop – you want the words to stand out, because that’s where the work is really put in, and the craft is then applied on the mic in-turn. Like, listen to the moment around the three-minute mark – King Cotz is at his most large & in-charge, sounding like he’s rappin’ at ya from atop of a mountain deep into the valley below, and still able to knock you out with the sheer force of power as an emcee, even from so far away. “Underground” is a huge step in the right direction for King Cotz – dynamic performance, dramatic music; it’s a single that’s designed to retain your attention both lyrically, verbally, & by sheer sonic force.
Find out more about King Cotz at his official page at Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kingcotz