Brownsville Ka’s Album Merges Hip-Hop With Greek Mythology & It Sounds Slick (Video)
The term MC was once synonymous with poet. Often times, rappers appear more focused on hooks, adlibs, and “sauce” than poetry. However, there are pockets of wordsmiths who are writing lyrics that make you think, smile, and even scrunch up your face on occasion. Ka is one of these artists. A student of the craft of MC’ing, this Brownsville, Brooklyn lyricist has become a name fans trust to deliver an ample helping of heady Hip-Hop whenever he drops. His releases are never just a loose collection of songs, but instead a focused offering of elegantly articulated insights. He is a crusader for high concept Hip-Hop.
For his sixth LP, the onetime member of Natural Elements and Roc Marciano affiliate has teamed with producer Animoss (of the Arch Druids) for a concept album of epic proportions titled Orpheus Vs. The Sirens (embedded below). Taking on the roles of “Hermit” and “The Recluse,” these two contemporaries have put together 10 songs that use Greek mythology to illustrate the struggles of an MC navigating his hostile environment. Orpheus is a legendary poet and musician from Greek mythology, and in the ancient poem Argonautica, he accompanies Jason and The Argonauts on their mission to attain the Golden Fleece. His main role is to sing louder and more beautifully than the Sirens, who look to shipwreck and kill the sailors. The parallels to what is going on in rap right now should be obvious.
The duo recently gifted fans a high-quality video for “Sirens” directed by Alina I. Popescu, an artist best known for her opening and closing credits in feature films. Black and white classic animation follows Ka’s lyrics as he compares Greek gods and monsters to his own surroundings. In this plethora of cool images, the dandelion blowing in the wind, as well as the Sirens writhing with ill-intent stand out the most. Check it out below.
Orpheus vs. The Sirens is an experience one should listen to all the way through. To comprehend the thought put into this undertaking, hearing the songs in sequence and without distraction is key. With a relatively short run-time of 32:48, that should not be too much to ask. Now, as good as the first half of the LP is, many of the highlights come after the midway point.
Simply put, “Golden Fleece,” “Hades,” “Oedipus,” and “Companion of Artemis” are high watermarks for this epoch of the culture. Animoss’ beats are quite understated here, but they give Ka plenty of room to pack in his dense bars. The vintage organ on “Golden Fleece” and horns on “Oedipus” are crate gold.
Ka even responds to his detractors that assert a firefighter should not be denouncing police officers by offering his definition of a good cop on “Companion of Artemis”: “And awakenin’ to no cake, the young pursue the crumb / So peace to that retired cop who never drew his gun / And did ‘cause he knew a good career was to never shoot his son / So, son, put feeling in your dealings, never do it numb.” That is a poignant message for anybody in a position of authority.
It’s worth noting that acclaimed comic book writer Peter Milligan had a comic series titled Greek Street that ran from 2009-2010 that used a similar premise to Orpheus vs. The Sirens. It is set in the criminal underworld of modern-day London but is populated with characters from Greek mythology.
#BonusBeat: Stream Orpheus vs. The Sirens: