"The siblings' back-and-forth verses are genuinely moving and the relaxed style finally takes off."
Australian rapper Citizen Kay kicks off his new album With The People with Our World, a song for the kids along the lines of Slick Rick's classic Hey Young World.
Kay has made a name for himself in Aussie hip hop, earning an ARIA nomination for his mini-LP Demokracy, released in November of last year. With The People is his first full-length album, and the results are more mixed. Production-wise, much of the record is laidback '60s-style soul, and this writer honestly can't recall much hip hop from the past few years with so much Hammond organ in it. The style works most of the time, but fails to excite as on Raise A Glass from Demokracy, and draws attention to Kay's lyrics, which suffer from being too simple and predictable.
Still, the album goes places. The record's emotional peak begins with My Father (Interlude), a spoken word dialogue between Kay and his father about their move to Australia that sets the tone for the next two tracks. Dreamin', Kay's response to his father, crescendos nicely, taking a genuine risk that pays off. Finally, Family Ties is the album's best song and features Kay's brother Genesis Owusu on top of a jazz instrumental. The siblings' back-and-forth verses are genuinely moving and the relaxed style finally takes off. These two songs add a much-needed human touch to the album, and we get to see Citizen Kay as a person rather than a rapper.