The Night's Gambit

Jay Z could learn a thing or two from Ka, another ferociously talented Brooklyn-born MC in his forties. Not about moneymaking – Ka still hawks CDs for $10 a pop on corners – but about how to rap, gracefully, about aging. Over the hypnotic, self-produced drones of his third solo album, Ka is an auteur with a hushed delivery worthy of Nineties stalwarts like Raekwon and Prodigy, and a gift for moral complexity and tightly woven bars. He alludes to a criminal past but makes maturity sound badass too. "A man now, stand down, sick of bleeding, I'm  into reading," he raps on "Our Father." "Enough point work, joints hurt, and my shit's receding."

From The Archives Issue 1189: August 15, 2013
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