Photo of Mikal kHill by Dianna Augustine
Mikal kHill’s new album The Snuggle is REAL is out now, available on Bandcamp and full of guests and beats. He joins with artists such as Jesse Dangerously, Mega Ran and Dr. Awkward. kHill plans only to release this digitally and on cassette, as is becoming a trend among musicians. The Snuggle is REAL has been compared to Pete Rock and Rza. While I agree, this album is much more than a culmination of influences; it leaves an impression of the artists involved. Referred to as sadcore and nerdcore, the brooding themes throughout the album are accessible by most listeners.
This album encapsulates the life-long journey we all take, one of trials and tribulations. kHill is not only able to candidly express what his life has been but he makes it enjoyable with some of the most obscenely creative lyrics I’ve heard this year: “The best advice I ever got was, kill your heroes/roll with a crew of like minded weirdos/naysayers come aground neglect to hear those/raise your voice but still speak real clear though” (“Mistakeover”). This isn’t a narcissistic attempt at memoir but instead a kind of group-hug of rappers in the midst of midi and accentuating guitar. This album showcases kHill as well as the many rappers he has brought in for collaboration.
Photo of Collaborating Drunken Mikal kHill by Jenny Lou Bement
When I asked what inspired him to create an album with so many guest verses, he had this to say: “I wanted to sort of create a Nerdcore version of “The Chronic” where I brought together a ton of my friends to rap on one record while keeping it as cohesive and fluid as possible.” The record really retains a fluid quality and cohesiveness. “The mixes on this album were handled by my friend Cecilnick of the band Autocorrect and I actually recorded a lot of the album’s vocals at his studio in South Carolina,” kHill added.
“The Mistakeover,” the opener of the album, includes DJ Mo Niklz spicing up the solid lyrics of kHill. This lively, take-no-shit track amps up the listener for an album so full of featured artists that it almost seems that kHill was not only put on this earth to slam but to bring more artists together for his fans to get a taste.
Photo of Jesse Dangerously by Jenny Lou Bement
My personal favorite song on the album is the final, hidden track called “Light of Day,” which features Halifax rap legend, Jesse Dangerously. The song starts as some hidden tracks do, gradually rising in volume until you hear kHill’s haunting lyrics start, dropping a beat for a dynamic song that wraps up an album. On a bed of sampled violin, the hook kicks in and gets my blood pumping: “Hey! paddle a little faster, don’t look at the water.” These are just the words to encourage anyone to push on during a long journey, appropriate for a song about the journey that is an artist’s life.
Photo of Schaffer the Darklord by Jenny Lou Bement
The song “Sinking Ship,” featuring Schaffer the Darklord, presents the cycle of hurdles, external and internal, that many of us can relate to. “The album is just inspired by various things that have happened in my life, though there’s no one STRICT theme on the album. A common theme in a lot of my music is dealing with depression, isolation and loss but the record isn’t explicitly ABOUT that,” kHill says.
With ten tracks and each track featuring at least one new guest artist, it’s easy to assume that something would get lost along the way but kHill has successfully created a cohesive and pleasing album, track after track. Themes correlate, each guest is given their own spotlight and in the end, a trek of nerdy rappers is put to music.
Photo of The ThoughtCriminals by Dane Abernathy
I first discovered kHill through Thought Criminals, a duo of him and Sulfur. They were my very first taste of nerdcore rap, something that everyone should experience. The variety of artists out there under this genre vary greatly and kHill’s niche involves what critics have referred to as “crunching drum beats” and also includes Nintendo soundbytes. I never considered myself a big fan of rap but I am certainly a huge fan of nerdcore rap. I was lucky to see kHill perform with Adam WarRock, MC Lars and Mega Ran at an MC Chris show. The four of them on stage felt like such a new creature in the music industry.
kHill has a Black Friday deal going on. All merchandise is half off and his new album will be on sale for five dollars. This sale runs until Saturday at midnight. Get one while the gettin’s good.