Few hip hop artists have the balls to release an instrumental version of their album. The reason for that is usually the really good reason that most of the time, the rapping drives the music, not the other way around. It tends to be like this in rock music as well, where many fans couldn't imagine their favorite rock albums without the vocals. So, how about a rap-rock band? Okay, there are a few bands of this type that could do with chucking the vocals entirely, but, for the most part, rap-rock has the same deal that its two main components, hip hop and rock have, and that the music's just not that interesting to warrant an instrumental version.
Enter Kongcrete, whose self-titled album is available in both instrumental and vocal versions. Both versions are valid; the instrumental version shows that underneath the raps, the band is very
capable and talented, and there's a lot of effort put into making good music here, though, at times, the songs tend to reflect a heavy influence from other bands - "Greyhound Bus" is heavily Korn
-inspired, musically, "KC Made Me Do It" sounds like Rage Against the Machine
, and "Demented" sounds like Cypress Hill
But rather than being derivative, the band shows lots of musical chops that make their music enjoyable to listen to; as a whole, this record stands on its own, not as a repeat of other bands. The raps take a heavily political and socially aware slant, talking about the government, the prison system, religion, drug addiction, insanity, murder...and the band is genuinely clever: they named a song about crack "Crack Mamba".
A downpoint, though, is the band dubbing their concoction "ghetto rock". Nice try, guys, but you don't sound like Mos Def
in the least bit.
You can stream both versions of the album for free at http://kongcrete.bandcamp.com/, where the band also allows fans to name their own price for downloading the instrumental version (if you enter 0.00, you can download it for free), and grab the vocal version for $7. It's worth checking out, and this is a band worth supporting.
Highlights: "Greyhound Bus", "Crack Mamba", "Demented"
Taiwo D'Aguilar - Vocals
Jack Jankowicz - Guitars
Jeff To - Bass
Gene D. Williams - Drums