This Kirk Knight article was written by Sianne Clovis, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Hazel Webster
Whether it be ‘Start Running’ or ‘5 Minutes’ featuring Joey Bada$$, Kirk Knight manages to bring a Brooklyn feeling to the music on his latest album. 20-year-old Kirlan Labarrie, better known by his stage name Kirk Knight, is an American rapper and record producer originally from Brooklyn, New York. He recently released his debut studio album, ‘Late Knight Special’ on the 22nd October and is already grabbing the public’s attention with collaborations from Pro Era artists such as Joey Bada$$ and The Mind.
The first track, appropriately titled ‘Start Running’, is both lyrically smooth and smart, with similar sounds and themes to that of Raury, Knights’ chilled hip-hop beats paired with his echoing chorus of “I hit the ground and start running” creates an interesting mixture of a hip-hop trance-like atmosphere. Music to fall asleep to even though the track features Knight rapping.
Despite him occasionally changing the pace at which he raps, Knight manages to impressively keep in time with the relaxed music, effortlessly jumping from smooth melodies to raw uncut sounds. An impressive skill probably picked up from his producer days. The second track ‘Heaven for Real’ is more spiritually upbeat, featuring the female vocals of AndNoName Gypsy and what can only be described as spoken word, giving the whole track a unique tone.
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‘Brokeland’ has a very close resemblance to the style of Jay-z especially in Jay-z’s ‘Ni**as in Paris’. The track itself is heavily accompanied with unsettling sounds such as screaming and police sirens, the continuous loop of a harpsichord is also played in the background giving the song an overall creepy feel.
Yet Knight uses this track to pay homage to his hometown as well as to showcase his clever lyrics. “Cross me, be the first and last like alpha and omega” engages the listener, making them stop and think about a seemingly simple threat, “cross me and it’ll be the last thing you do”. Despite heavily emphasising the horrors of a young boy growing up on the East coast, “Not measly s**t I seen as a little figure”.
Knight manages to also glorify his hometown especially in the chorus, “go Brooklyn, go Brooklyn, go Brooklyn, Brooklyn’s in the house!” Knight utilises both his own and the rapping style of Joey Bada$$ to create a track that keeps the audience hanging on their every word. Similarly to‘Brokeland’, in ‘5 Minutes’ (featuring Joey Bada$$), Knight uses a drum machine to produce an unnatural loop of sounds.
Knight showcases his ability to create minimalist music in his 12 track album and clearly draws influence from rappers such as Kanye West and Notorious B.I.G, even though rappers like Jay-z and 50 Cent are still popular, unlike some new musicians, Knight has proved he is a strong contender for the new hip-hop decade rather than another forgetful rapper. Knight’s debut album is the first of many in what will soon be a successful music career.
‘Late Knight Special’ is out now via Cinematic Music Group.