With two acclaimed underground albums under his belt, Bay area rapper K-Maxx released his third effort, The Whole Woo Wop at the tail end of 2009. Woo Wop, which is slang for “all encompassing,” references the experiences the up and coming rapper has lived through in the last few years. A fixture on the San Francisco area hip hop scene, the rapper hosts the “Ghetto Gumbo” radio show which airs every Friday night on KPOO FM 89.5. The rapper is obviously multi talented; he produced, arranged and performed each track on the recording except for guest spots, illustrating the intense dedication the MC has to his craft.
The first installation on the record, “The Price” instantly draws listeners in with the rappers’ vocal delivery, which has a unique hushed edge to it. Similarly “Recipe” provides a catchy hook that propels the song along with its smooth background synthesizers. The album rolls on with “What They Claim” where an acoustic guitar and clapping beat expounds upon the ups-and-downs of the underground hip hop scene, with the help of guest Young Skitz at his side.
K-Maxx is honest and unwavering in “Life is Love (Yola)” where the chorus “We were born in strife, born to die” ultimately sums up the hard experiences the MC has lived through; supported by guest Fed-X of Mob Figaz. “Let Them Play” introduces some upbeat influences in the form of a quick three note beat that is clearly created for getting people on the dance floor.
“Yesterday” is a sweet reminiscent track where the rapper thanks those who have touched his life. Additionally “Last Verse” is an up front manifesto to members of his community to take their futures into their own hands, with its strong beat and synth elements. “Betta Days” is an up tempo track with a heavy clapping rhythm that finds the rapper asking if he will ever make a better life for himself. Since any rap album is incomplete without a track for the ladies, “Sessual” is a slow R&B influenced song that is charming and melodic, without being overly raunchy, with its electric guitar elements and relaxed beat.
While the album is well produced, K-Maxx’s cadence and honest lyrical content is placed front-and-center, delivering the rapper’s message with unmitigated clarity. The album serves as a temporal view into the life of an up-and-coming artist, complete with all the struggles and joys that the experience brings with it. The Whole Woo Wop is refreshing and nostalgic with its candor and, at times sadness; two qualities that incidentally brought hip hop into the mainstream conscience in the first place.
Rukshan Thenuwara – MuzikReviews.com
August 20, 2009