K.A.A.N. - Subtle Meditation (LP)
Following 2016's Uncommon Knowledge and 2017's Abstractions, K.A.A.N. strikes again with his third release on vinyl. Entitled Subtle Meditation, this marks collaboration number three and counting for label partners Redefinition Records, but project number 20 something in K.A.A.N.'s overall catalog. The full length boasts 13 thought provoking tracks. The seasoned rapper explores subjects far and wide, including America's social climate, striving for success, colonialism, dealing with failure, depression, anxiety, creative passion and self destruction to name a few. Topics so relevant are guaranteed that in any moment or place in the world, people in bars, cafes, dinner tables and social media feeds are engaging in identical discussions. No matter what side of the spectrum you fall on, starting dialogue is most important when looking for solutions.
K.A.A.N. presents questions and offers a few jewels of advice throughout the album's 41 minutes, but leaves enough room for listeners to discover their own opinions. To date, the MC has been acclaimed for his once in a lifetime talent and his artistic bravery in creating an extremely diverse catalog. However, Subtle Meditation is K.A.A.N.'s comfort zone. Everything from the lyrical concepts, to song structure and the style of production were very therapeutic in helping him access his personal favorite sensibilities. He wasn't concerned with writing the next top 10 hit or meeting commercial guidelines, but preferably tapped into what moves him most as an artist. Born in the 90's and being a fan of the decade's artists, he went directly to the source. The album art was designed by visual artist Joe Buck who rose to prominence as De La Soul's in house artist and went to design for Nike, Jeff Staple and Lil' Wayne.
Production is handled by the likes of The 45 King who was behind Queen Latifah's beginnings and producer of Jay-Z's anthem Hard Knock Life and Eminem's classic Stan. Also in the mix is K-Def who produced Chief Rocka for the Lords of the Underground and worked with Marley Marl, Diddy, UGK and Ghostface. Don't get it wrong, this is not a "90's revivalist attempt". K.A.A.N employed the fresh talents of up and coming, uncharted Ukrainian producer Smuff tha Quiz who laid 70% of the album's beats. Results of this teamwork provide a very strong listening experience from start to finish.
One, could attribute the album's strength to executive producer, Damu the Fudgemunk. Known as an artist in his own right, Damu co-produced, mixed and mastered the whole album in addition to laying an array of top notch scratching on every track. Channeling old to new and popular to obscure sources, his input enhanced the storytelling element from song to song. Whether you're a longtime fan or new to K.A.A.N.'s music, this project will capture your attention and standout for years to come. The artist confessed that Subtle Meditation is one of his favorite releases ever.
To celebrate such an accomplishment it is being released on limited neon vinyl with full color florescent jackets and few surprises in the rollout. In an age of short attention spans and where disposable music is the norm, K.A.A.N.'s latest challenges those standards. With an album titled Subtle Meditation, the vocalist may be downplaying his process, but nothing short of higher level thinking went into making this 2018 masterpiece.