Screwston, Texas

KAB's Bully On Tha Beat: The Monster Only Looks Familiar

"There's no place on the earth for the righteous." -KAB, being insightful

"I'll put a prize on your head; I'll raffle you." -KAB, being clever

KAB, budding rapper and occasional criminal, released his Bully On Tha Beat tape. Here it is. Download it. It deserves to be in your iPod. It is a proper debut outing, full of harangued energy and, at times, monkey sounds (seriously).

Now, KAB is clearly a talented rapper, that seems an obvious point to make (see the blustery "Jungle" if you need to be convinced). What's less clear, though, is why.

Because he isn't who your brain is telling you that he is.

Listen to "Jungle" by KAB

Listen to "Jungle" by KAB

There are two reasons why KAB is considerable beyond the music (or because of it, maybe). The first reason is entirely visceral and predictable. It spirals into the second though, which is entirely academic and somehow surprising.

(1) KAB is viscerally interesting because he looks to have been carved out of north Houston bedrock by Ares to play the role he currently occupies (to be reductive: gangster rapper). He is physically substantial --or, rather, PHYSICALLY SUBSTANTIAL. His hands look like shoe boxes, his neck touches his ears and his chest might be where they buried Jimmy Hoffa. When he moves, he relays every bit of the laborious process, thudding along at whatever pace he deems appropriate (slow, and ostensibly angry, typically). It is remarkable and unquestionably effective. Were all of the people in Houston lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, he'd be the first one you picked if you had to guess which one had a song called "Sleep In A Casket." Of course, this all acts as a force multiplier for the second reason.

(2) KAB is academically interesting because he is an illogicality that feels logical. What that means: Houston has seen big, burly rappers before. And the two guys Houston music fans think of when talking about large persons that rap (Big Moe, H.A.W.K.) have been locally deified since their deaths. Thus, there's almost this evolutionary predisposition among music nerds to favor the big guys. You see KAB and you get excited, even if you don't understand why. The illogicality of the situation is that he's nothing like either of them, or anyone of them, really. Moe and H.A.W.K. oozed calmness; words spilled out their mouths at their leisure. With KAB, he is fiery fluster, all hard, biting treble. His vowels are harsh, jutting out in all directions. Counterintuitive to local lexicon traditionalisms, his consonants are an afterthought, like his lips can't be bothered to purse because fuck you they just don't want to.

What does any of this mean, either within a macro or micro discussion of music and historical analogues and blah, blah, blah?

Who knows.

What should be clear is that this:

isn't this:

I mean, fuck, he's not even wearing a bowler hat, guys.

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Shea Serrano