k-os

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The spelling of Kheaven Brereton's first name is not coincidental: Brereton, aka K-Os, brings a heavy dose of spirituality to his debut hip-hop album, and a healthy dose of positivity as well. It's not the only aspect that deviates from the turn of the millennium hip-hop formula, though: It's also an eclectic mix of musical styles, incorporating everything from standard hip-hop beats to reggae, soul, and even flamenco. K-Os' mission is to defy expectations in the music and the message -- rather than talking about standard themes like bucks and booty, it's about self-discovery. (For illustration, a snippet from the liner notes reads, "It seems that we all fear the ending of our 'selves,' but in reality we fear losing all the things we 'know,' especially who we THINK we are.") There's always a danger with albums like this that they may come across as preachy or, even worse, as novelties. Thankfully, Exit is neither. The music is always substantial, and K-Os is every bit as good a singer as an MC. Even more importantly, when it comes to the words, K-Os only guides, never demands.

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