The Krakan

Dawn of the Krakan

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Alternative rap enthusiasts have often fantasized about alt-rap taking over hip-hop in much the same way that alternative rock took over rock in the early '90s. In that fantasy scenario, alternative rappers would overtake gangsta rap in popularity just as the phenomenal success of Nirvana and Pearl Jam in 1991, 1992 and 1993 caused so many hair metal bands to disappear from MTV. But while that fantasy of alternative rap becoming hip-hop's primary direction seems highly unrealistic (at least as of early 2008), there is no denying that alternative rap has given us some very creative MCs -- and in 2007, one of alt-rap's most promising debut albums was the Krakan's Dawn of the Krakan. The New York City-based rapper favors a gruff, barking style that immediately brings to mind DMX, and yet, this intriguing CD is by no means a carbon copy of DMX's work. While the Krakan's flow is DMX-influenced, his lyrics draw on direct or indirect influences ranging from Rakim (as in Eric B. & Rakim) to Everlast, Method Man, and Common. On top of that, his rhymes often have a mystical quality that points to the philosophies of eastern religion -- and in that sense, he has something in common with Blastmaster KRS-1 (without being nearly as sociopolitical). Further, the Krakan's tracks have a way of combining American hip-hop with references to European electronica (according to the rapper's bio, he lived in Europe and Africa in the past). Put all those things together -- a barking, DMX-influenced flow, elements of Everlast, Method Man, Common, and KRS-1, and an interest in European electronica, and you have one of the most interesting hip-hop debuts of 2007. Dawn of the Krakan indicates that this alt-rapper is well worth keeping an eye on.

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