Killa Klay’s debut full length Everything Makes Cense Now is a bold and far-reaching musical and personal statement positioning him as one of the genre’s brightest talents. I have heard it said that a writer’s first book is often considered their best because it harnesses the totality of their life’s experiences up to that point into a career defining opening statement and it is true about first albums as well. It isn’t hard to hear Everything Makes Cense Now as a release percolating for years in Killa Klay’s personal life, thoughts, and early musical experiments before taking its final shape with this release. The Far Rockaway based rapper’s songs are charged and emboldened by a sense of fearlessness – Klay is willing to follow his creativity wherever it takes him and exudes enough charisma and physicality that you want to follow along.

It’s a signal of his confidence Klay settled on a sprawling thirteen tracks for this release. Some might point to this as evidence of bloat and self indulgence but the truth is open-minded listeners will have a difficult time finding any filler amongst this baker’s dozen worth of cuts. Everything Makes Cense Now begins with the audacious individuality of the song “Keep It A Stack”. He tosses a little bit of ambient sound effects into the mix but this is never an overdone part of his identity and the track, once it kicks in, boasts a herky jerky rhythm contrasted against Klay’s comparatively straight forward yet echo-laden delivery. It isn’t hard to be impressed by the confidence his performance exudes – Klay sounds convinced from the outset that he deserves to be here, front and center, and commands your attention.

“Back Then” has simmering intensity that never quite reaches full boil, but the suggestion it might is enough to sustain the track. The musical arrangement has a light hypnotic moodiness pervading its near three minute running time and another strong vocal from Klay. He definitely gets the release off to the right foot with a powerful one-two punch. The album’s fifth song “No Romancing” is the longest and most textured track yet. He adopts a slow build for the song’s first half before settling into another fat groove over which he can weave his verbal and vocal magic. These songs never go in for outright chest beating pronouncements. Klay, instead, accomplishes much more through musical subtlety as evidenced by the keyboard playing underpinning this track.

“Take Trips” is a love song, through and through, but with a distinctive Killa Klay spin applied. It has a mid-tempo pace providing an excellent rhythmic platform for Klay’s voice and he pairs up well with the pre-programmed percussion. Despite its electronic origins, the drumming never sounds cold or sterile. Everything Makes Cense Now’s tenth song is one of the album’s more assertive efforts. The fat bass pulse anchoring the song engages listeners and gives Klay a solid foundation to work from while he unleashes a torrent of words tailored to connect with listeners on a physical level. This is taste of the riches present on Killa Klay’s debut Everything Makes Cense Now and makes the case that Klay is one of the most promising newcomers on the national scene in quite some time.

Michael Rand

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