by Alex P80 Parks
Kadeem from Boston (Mattapan) has teamed up with SlumLord from Lynn, Mass to deliver a 7-track EP. An engagingly charismatic emcee, Kadeem strings rhymes together, making it seem effortless. But don’t get his outgoing, smooth demeanor twisted; Dude is sharp with the pen and keeps listeners on their toes with his deep rhymes.
Kadeem describes the title The Game is The Game as an acceptance of life. He says: “Whatever results that come about from playing the game you can’t be mad. You decided to join. It’s a precautionary journey that highlights living with the decisions you make.”
The cover art is a play on hustling and probability, confounded by the multiple dice. This idea of random chance and unpredictability is evident throughout the tracks as Kadeem ponders life and meaning behind each choice and decision made while also questioning the shit thrown his way out of his control.
“Choices” (intro) over a crackling piano loop, he speaks to the listeners: “I think every single ‘L’ is worth stressing. The ones I ignore was the worst lessons”
“Either/or” a repetitive piano loop accompanies a stuttering snare and bass that doesn’t complicate the track.
“On the fade again, Few blended,
but I ain’t afraid to win.
Shaking things up like a fading pen.”
Kadeem is focused here, describing the juxtapositions and paradoxes that exist and accepting the outcomes as either fate or perhaps chance.
“Heavy Hands ft. Darius Heywood” with echoing futuristic synths and compressed drums. SlumLord lays a thumper, perfect for cruising the streets on summer nights, with mischievous minds on the creep. Kadeem finds that groove to flow to. Darius drops a dope energetic rhyme scheme which is complementary to Kadeem’s more reserved and understated flow.
“Unrivaled” sets the scene as if Kadeem is rolling through the casino. A funky guitar riff, bongo drums and subtle effects show off Kadeem’ s braggadocio flow in this track.
“I ain’t hearing it.
‘Less you pay the consultation.
If you ain’t steer the ship,
don’t speak upon my observations.
It’s the captain of the yacht.
Yeah Im really this.
The gillie swish active in the drop like is it really him?
Go and dip the philly quick.”
“2nd Hand Lessons” has a morose air, as Kadeem reminisces on his father leaving him and whether to reach out after all he’d gone through. This sticks to the intended theme of coping with what life deals you. This one’s just a bit more personal for Kadeem as he illustrates the trials of navigating life with a father who’s been selfish and neglectful at times. Kadeem recognized the pitfalls along the way and is ultimately the wiser each day. SlumLord lays a high-pitched organ synth and a 70’s style bass line with snappy snares and cymbals. Kadeem simply states at the end of the verse:
“The best of you became the worst of me”
the track ends with a phone beeping as it’s just lost connection, paralleling his relationship with his father.
“To each his own” The hype punchy boom bap track is the energetic one of the bunch showing Kadeem with quick rhyme patterns, while maintaining that smooth cool he exudes. SlumLord builds a track with a simple but fast-paced flute sample over the cymbal-heavy track. These are the type of tracks that the cool is most emphasized because the energy of the track is a contrast to Kadeem’s chill overall nature.
“Destiny Calling” The melancholy of the jazzy trumpet and echoing drums provide a foundation for Kadeem to explore the elements of life’s purpose.
“I hold my phone on silent, destiny calling but I let it ring.
I know an answer needed. But this a view I ain’t used to seeing.
Starting to see a path, pray that it’s my free at last.”
From his previous work, Kadeem shows some maturity and adheres to a theme without trying to be too deep. His content shows a man pondering life’s choices and the nature of making those decisions that impact life. Kadeem avoids sounding cliche with tired punchlines here. SlumLord supplies a simple yet effective canvas for Kadeem to display his smooth, confident style. Kadeem shows that he’s on the right path to continued growth with this latest release.
Cop this and his previous work at his BandCamp page: