KL – Post Traumatic Stress (RaRaKIN Collective)

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RaRaKIN are a collective established with the intent of inclusiveness and extension within Australian hip-hop. They operate outside of the traditional Aussie structure of put-on bogan accents, roughneck aesthetics, and BBQ references, in favour of leftfield theatric antics, zany humour and a sense of real fun in their craft.

KL is one member of RaRaKIN who has released this extensive 17-track album free for download. Post Traumatic Stress is heavy in concept, and is irreverently humourous at intervals, soulful and thought-provoking at others.

Without proper reference, one isn’t sure whether or not KL is taking the piss, with dank and tight beats and over-the-top alcohol-related violence references in ‘Bashing Alcohol’, and then completely changing in pace in next track ‘Intro/Crazy’ with a spacious and heartfelt beat, and KL passionately singing off-key about feeling crazy. Post Traumatic Stress does indeed have a crazy sort of tilt in terms of objective song order, which some could find a bit off-putting, but others may find this to be a creative and eclectic melting pot of an album.

It’s impossible to explain the album in any great detail because there’s a lot of depth and content in it. Post Traumatic Stress really feels like it’s a couple of albums worth, but this indicates an album that isn’t disposable after a couple of listens, and one that could grow on you. This breaking of objective album pace, along with room for production improvement and lack of natural vocal polish and occasionally coherency (although natural and complex) are the only areas I can fault KL on, but these are seemingly early days yet for this rapper.

Objectively, KL is highly original in terms of lyrical flow and doesn’t seem put on, which is something I find obnoxious with a lot of hip-hop. KL is obviously quite happy in his own style and skin, and doesn’t have to resort to played out hip-hop cliches to get central musical messages across in rap. My favourite track would have to be ‘Scream’, a powerful triplet-driven harder cacophany release of rage that seems comical and intense by contrast.

Definitely another leftfield act in Australia to watch out for in the future, and from what I saw of RaRaKIN’s energetic live performance that translates even better on stage, they also are rapidly increasing their fanbase. This says to me KL and the rest of the collective are on an incline as musicians, and rightfully so.

8 out of a possible 10 Haarp Strings

Link: http://kl-rarakin.bandcamp.com/album/post-traumatic-stress

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