(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Friday, April 9, 2010

CD review - Kidd Russell, Backyard Heroes (2010)

Kidd Russell is a relentless self-promoter. He's out there hyping his music, acting as his own publicist. Like any good salesman, he believes in his product, which seems especially sincere as he avoids any false modesty. His latest project, Backyard Heroes, is a scattershot collection of pieces. There are several nice moments and some good flow, but it lacks some coherency. In this time of singles, that may not matter as much.

Mostly, it's a party album, with a mix of rap and singing that remind me of Sugar Ray or maybe a bit like Smashmouth. This vibe covers the recent video single, E North Ave to the love tribute of She Feels Like Home. There are side trips from the basic groove -- the MC 900 Ft Jesus feel of Legendary and the heavy message of Dear Shooter.

Dear Shooter is the strongest song here. It's an anti-violence rap, starting with a gangbanger's young victim and progressing to a soldier with the enemy in his sights. This chain of examples is anchored with a poignant chorus:
I wrote you this letter the other night
For you to read before you take my life
My life, my life
Gotta get this off my chest
Before your bullet ends my breath
My breath, dead shooter
Focused on creating empathy between victim and perpetrator, it's a powerful approach. The lyrical flow is smooth, with well chosen backing music.

Kidd Russell has a good ear for music and laying out some catchy flow. I'd like to hear more stylistic focus, but Backyard Heroes is well worth checking out. Raise a tallboy to the band.

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