One World Nation

Ya Kid K

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One World Nation Review

by Jose F. Promis

Ya Kid K rose to fame as the rapper and vocalist for Belgian house act Technotronic, and provided vocals for classic early-'90s hits such as "Pump up the Jam" (even though she wasn't featured in the video) and "Get Up! (Before the Night Is Over)." Two years after the Technotronic album cooled down, one of the album's tracks, "Move This," was used in a Revlon commercial, became a Top Ten pop hit, and was featured (in remixed form) as the premiere single for Ya Kid K's solo album, One World Nation. The album is an intoxicating mix of dance, house, hip-hop, and pop, although most of the tracks, such as "Let This Housebeat Drop" and "Jump It Out," lean more toward house, and "You Told Me Sex" echoes techno. The end result is a thoroughly well-produced set that showcases Ya Kid K not only as an engaging rapper, but also as an effective singer with a sweet singing voice, evident on the sparse ballad "Come Back Home" and the soulful, irresistible standout "Risky Business." What is an enigma, however, is why this album, which is rife with socially and politically themed lyrics, failed to ignite the charts. The album's second single, "That Man," was arguably one of the funkiest and catchiest songs to hit the airwaves in 1992, but completely failed to become the hit it should have been. Perhaps the reason is because grunge and gangsta rap took over around the time of this album's release, even though other dance acts -- such as Haddaway, CeCe Peniston, and Real McCoy -- managed to score massive pop/dance hits at around the same time. One World Nation is a surprisingly good album filled with intelligent dance, soul, and pop songs that pulls off its lofty ambitions. It is truly a mystery why this well-produced and engaging set failed to even slightly dent the charts or impact airwaves.

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