"Rap's in the gutter, gotta take it back," k-os passionately begins, over a sample of the Stooges blistering "Wanna Be Your Dog," and then he precedes to do just that with this compilation of his Collected works. A superstar in his Canadian home, the Trinidadian born singer/rapper has yet to quite break through in the States; this set may finally change his fortunes.
Pulling together unreleased material, including the brief, autobiographical "Introsuckshun" quoted above and the emotive closer "I Am," bundling up selections from his three albums, and previously unavailable remixes, including a sharp one of Feist's "Mushaboom," this is a sumptuous set that leaves listeners wanting much, much more. It's also a primer on the artist's dizzying diversity. A man of many moods, depending on the song, k-os is the ultimate old- style crooner, a hyperactive Michael Jackson wannabe, a '60s soul hero, a bebopper or hip-hopper. All told, a fabulous singer whose raps sear with their intelligence, with his themes thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting. Musically k-os is even more diverse, slyly inserting samples of Hot Music and Public Enemy into the slick jazz of "Superstar Pt. Zero," wryly echoing the white boy reggae of the Police on "Crucial," resurrecting the angular rhythms and jerky guitars of the post-punk era for "Born to Run," conjuring up the fingersnapping '40s big-band jazz on "Crabbuckit," and a sublimely haunting melody for "Man I Used to Be." Inevitably, k-os' latest album, Atlantis: Hymns for Disco receives the most attention, with three tracks culled, and a further two remixed. At a mere 40 minutes and 11 tracks, Collected comes across as more of a taster than a full meal, still it will surely whet your appetite for more of this sizzling artist.