k-os
Joyful Rebellion


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
January 31st, 2007 | 32 replies | 5,427 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: One of the most musical rap albums created.

I don’t think k-os wants me writing this right now. In an interview with Pop Matters, he smacked down critics, calling them hypocritical and sort of unworthy of tearing apart someone else’s music if they aren’t even making it themselves. He addressed the fact that there are some critics that make music of their own, but more often than not critics are simply critics. That interview taught me a lot about the man behind some of the most musical hip-hop I’ve ever heard. I learned that k-os loves music, but that’s not why this album exists. He wants to start a revolution. While he holds the same ideals of many inspirational rappers, namely black rights and telling the true story, your story, k-os takes the old phrase “rock is dead” and applies it to hip-hop. K-os said this about Joyful Rebellion, a statement that truly defines this album and his musical philosophies.

There's no limit; there are no rules. The rule is not to be cool. People end up following the rules (too much). I tried to not have rules on this record. [All] music that I ever loved, I just put it in a pot and tried to absorb from it. I mean that's what love does; it takes you beyond the grasp of limits. If you love music then it's not about hip-hop, rock, or punk rock, it's about coming up with all kinds of music. Perhaps that's what the joyful rebellion really is, being happy about that process. Rebelling against only liking one kind of music or having only one kind and music and that's your lifestyle.

As k-os stated, this is so much more than just a hip-hop album. Sure, he raps, and there are electronic beats galore, but the musical styles ranging from flamenco to reggae to pure pop make for something much broader. Drawing influence from The Roots, k-os brought in a live band to create his music, in which he plays guitar and piano. While some of the lyrical messages are very serious, almost prophetic, the music is truly joyful. With this original, unheard of style of rap and the joyous music, Joyful Rebellion is the perfect album name. The opening track, Emcee Murdah demonstrates that something completely new is about to take place. The track features a simple guitar melody infused with dramatic strings and a laid back, simple drum beat accented with rim clicks. K-os’ message becomes apparent immediately, with lines like “Money and fame will lead to emcee murder.” After a short rap, he launches into the chorus where he sings and shows he has a fantastic singing voice. If k-os wanted to, he could create an entirely singing album.

The album continues excellently with something completely different. Crucial is a completely authentic reggae jam. The live band makes their first appearance and one of their best, with a great guitar melody and bassline. K-os sings about the oppression of his race, which he felt heavily growing up in a predominantly white Canadian town. The lyrics dabble a bit in spirituality, speaking of a higher ground and salvation. K-os sings throughout the entire track, and proves once again that he is a fantastic singer. A guitar solo leads the song out, and leaves Crucial feeling like a full band’s track, not one coming from a rapper. Once again, the album takes a brand new turn on the next track, Man I Used to Be. It represents the first true hip-hop song on the album, but it also exudes a Michael Jackson style about it, especially through the singing in the chorus. The drum beat and various samples make the song immediately catchy and accessible. While the song revolves around one chord progression the entire time, so many different voices, including a funky guitar and more dramatic strings play on the chord progression that it never gets old. The drums play very high in the mix, which gets annoying, especially on the open high hat, but there is so much to focus on in the track that it doesn’t really matter. Man I Used to Be is a fantastic track that shows immense potential from k-os to create some of the catchiest songs around.

Each track on Joyful Rebellion brings something new to the table. The groovy, late night jazz club feel from Crabbukkit doesn’t necessarily belong on an album with the futuristic, spacey hip hop of Neutroniks, but somehow each track works in their own ways. If it weren’t for the lyrical content of the album, Joyful Rebellion would have absolutely no cohesion to it at all, as so many different styles come out on the album. Commanbante pulls in some acoustic flamenco guitar that k-os raps brilliantly over. A strange mix, yes, but it still works. The slow ballad Hallelujah is another track of all singing, which again is brilliant. B-Boy Stance is certainly the most typical rap song on the album, with an aggressive drum beat and simple samples. Joyful Rebellion takes all the standards and stereotypes of modern hip-hop music and throws them out the window. K-os speaks his mind on the current music industry, which almost made him quit music forever after his debut album Exit, and the current rap scene as well. In short, this is one of the most musical hip-hop albums of the 21st century, and it proclaims some excellent messages on the side. K-os produced a masterpiece with this album, not producing a single bad track and many superb ones.

Recommended Tracks:
Crucial
Man I Used to Be
Crabbukkit
The Love Song
Hallelujah
Papercutz



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Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
January 31st 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I've been waiting to submit this for a while.

Doppelganger
January 31st 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Got my vote.

I've never gotten into hip-hop at all, but I'm judging by this review that it might be a decent place to start. It sounds very interesting to say the least.

Nostradamus
January 31st 2007



80 Comments


sweet review good sir

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 31st 2007



17920 Comments


yeah good review. whatever that song is called on your myspace is pretty sweet so i'll probably get this

MrKite
January 31st 2007



5020 Comments


I may have to download this. I really like Love Song.
Great review, too.

ToWhatEnd
January 31st 2007



3172 Comments


I've heard this name before, are they by any chance touring with Gym Class Heroes?

tom79
January 31st 2007



3363 Comments


^It's not a band, one person, and I haven't heard anything about that.

Great review, I've heard every single he's released but haven't got any albums. I'd probably pick this one up before the new one though.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Tyler
Emeritus
January 31st 2007



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's not a band, but his band is incredible.

ToWhatEnd
February 1st 2007



3172 Comments


Well than...HE is opening for Gym Class and that is where I heard HIS name.

pikester
February 1st 2007



12 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is easily one of the best produced/arranged albums that I've ever heard. One of my favorite hip-hop albums also. Also a very well written review.



711
February 1st 2007



1342 Comments


There's no limit; there are no rules. The rule is not to be cool. People end up following the rules (too much). I tried to not have rules on this record. [All] music that I ever loved, I just put it in a pot and tried to absorb from it. I mean that's what love does; it takes you beyond the grasp of limits. If you love music then it's not about hip-hop, rock, or punk rock, it's about coming up with all kinds of music. Perhaps that's what the joyful rebellion really is, being happy about that process. Rebelling against only liking one kind of music or having only one kind and music and that's your lifestyle.

I really respect this guy. He feels the way I do about music. Great review as well, I will certainly look into this.

Doppelganger
February 1st 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I downloaded Emcee Murdah, Crucial, and Crabbuckit. They were all really awesome. I'm definitely getting this.

Tyler
Emeritus
February 1st 2007



7928 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When I saw him live, he played a cover of Hit The Road Jack and perfectly and his band segued it into Crabbuckit. It was a work of art.

711
February 1st 2007



1342 Comments


Crucial is awesome. I love the raggae-hip hop sound.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
February 1st 2007



2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[quote=Doppleganger]I downloaded Emcee Murdah, Crucial, and Crabbuckit. They were all really awesome. I'm definitely getting this.[/quote]

But you rated it?

Doppelganger
February 1st 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I got it shortly after. It's a little early to rate it, but I went ahead and did so. It's oddly accessible for someone who's never really expirience the genre. Love it.This Message Edited On 02.01.07

Doppelganger
February 1st 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^I have a habit of doing that. Thus, my objectivity score fluctuates frequently.

Sepstrup
February 2nd 2007



1563 Comments


It sounds like I need this album.

Two-Headed Boy
February 10th 2007



4527 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God this album is totally rad.

That's enough hip-hop talk for today. Excellent review, such a great album.

ohfoxxxycole
May 20th 2011



4350 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

one of sputniks forgotten treasures



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