Kxng Crooked Takes Nas’ Beat & Shows It’s His World
More than a decade after launching his online series “Hip-Hop Weekly,” Long Beach, California MC KXNG Crooked (formerly known as Crooked I) is in the throes of its revival. The original series was pivotal in his gaining career traction, giving him that proverbial “buzz” during what many Hip-Hop heads remember as “the blog era.” In the years since, he’s forged a remarkable career on his own, both as a member of the beloved supergroup Slaughterhouse (alongside Royce 5’9, Joe Budden and Joell Ortiz) and a solo artist.
Now, he’s taking on a lot of classic material from the Hip-Hop canon, flipping well-known beats and slicing his way through freestyle after freestyle. Two months into 2019, and Crook’ is delivering the eighth installment of “Hip-Hop Weekly 2.0.” For his latest offering, KXNG Crooked takes on a seminal Nas track with some help from producer Dizz. “UP2THESUN” is their take on “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That),” Nas’ 1996 single featuring Lauryn Hill. He’s unrelenting from jump.
“I’ve been double-crossed, no medallion / A city full of lost ni**as wylin’ / They hate to see a boss ni**a stylin’ / Red carpet, walk across with a stallion / Gucci drippin’ sauce in Italian / Whoa, I just wanna floss like I’m smilin’ / Whoa, stay away from false ni**as smilin’ / Yo, pay the cost to be the boss, money pilin’ / Oh, ni**as mad my bars live in a cell / I call it the pen and pad / Forgive me, I didn’t have a dad / Sh*t was bad / They told me I’d finish last / Instead, I’m just kickin’ a**, forever I’m in my bag / I can feel it when the respect is real / Doin’ business with Crooked is deeper than a record deal.”
Later in the track, KXNG spits rhymes for which “boast” is simply too weak a descriptor. “I move with a pair of shooters, some barracudas / With a pair of Rugers that get respected like Larry Hoover / Cut your wig like some hair remover / I be somewhere in Cuba, sittin’ in a pool / Just like I’m sharin’ Ubers / Reminding you ni**as that I’m the best ever / Seen a lyricist like Crooked, the West never.”
Unsurprisingly, the full three minutes of “UP2THESUN” are packed to the brim with double entendres, clever reference material and good, old-fashioned wordplay. Perhaps no bar shows all of that off better than “I don’t wanna hear sh*t when I’m spittin’, just remember — the same letters that spell ‘listen’ spell ‘silent.‘