K-Solo

Time's Up

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Because K-Solo was a longtime friend of EPMD's Parrish Smith, some people assumed that his Atlantic releases would favor an EPMD-like flow. But in fact, Time's Up doesn't emulate EPMD, although Smith serves as executive producer. While Smith and Erick Sermon (the other half of EPMD) were known for a deadpan, relaxed style of rapping, K-Solo tends to be a lot more aggressive. Arguably, K-Solo's rapping style is closer to LL Cool J or Big Daddy Kane than EPMD. The thing that K-Solo has in common with Smith and Sermon is an unmistakably East Coast approach; in 1992, no one would have mistaken K-Solo for a Southern or West Coast rapper. And the production is as East Coast-sounding as K-Solo's flow. The producers (who include Sam Anderson and Sermon, among others) favor the minimalist, sample-heavy format that was big in the Northeastern U.S. in the early '90s -- none of the producers show any awareness of either the sleek, keyboard-heavy G-funk sound that Dr. Dre popularized on the West Coast or the hyper bass music that was coming out of Florida. Lyrically, Time's Up is fairly diverse. While EPMD spent much of their time attacking "sucker MCs," K-Solo raps about everything from prison life ("Premonition of a Black Prisoner") to black-on-black crime ("Who's Killin' Who"). Although K-Solo isn't afraid to discuss the harsh realities of urban life, he doesn't get into gangsta rap at all -- when he raps about black-on-black crime, the New Yorker is speaking out against thug life. Time's Up falls short of remarkable, but it's a solid, enjoyable outing from an EPMD ally who was a talented MC in his own right.

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