The Chief rocka of the chakras, Nebraska’s Sleep Sinatra always brings a level of metaphysical awareness to his music. Washington state’s (Talaj) KINGKVMI brings his own level of spirituality as well, tapping into a range of sounds, from some warm vibes to chopped sample loops, always alluding to greater powers and ideas.
Sleep is an esoteric poet with a consistently sophisticated approach to emceeing, minus only a masters degree in literature. Part street scholar, part literary gangsta, Sleep Sinatra doesn’t come off as a corny emcee trying to merely saturate his bars with elevated vocabulary. But he balances his intellectual mindset with a seasoned and savvy musical approach. He’s a got a great ear for beats and has repeatedly meshed well with Talaj since they linked up a couple years back on Sleep’s dynamic breakthrough album, [D]ARKANGEL. Together on B4THESTRM, these 2 connect over 8 joints of sample-based instrumentals. Talaj brings both the drumless loops and tracks with added percussion for an overall enjoyable experience.
Strutting on uptempo joints like the quirky chopped guitar fuzz on the intro/opener, “SetSail,” Sleep Sinatra finds the pocket and stays in the zone, maintaining his flow, making it always seem effortless. Talaj lays down the laid-back elevator loops with virtually no percussion on tracks like “Casa De Fuentes,” then slips into the 70’s Blaxploitation feel of “Casting Spellz” followed by the smoothed-out smoke session joints like “Eulogy’z.” Rahiem Supreme provides a Shaap verse as the lone guest on the bouncy “Perils.” Talaj builds some tension on “Mr. Hanayama” with echoing notes, chopped abruptly. There was some hope of a payoff here after the tension builds, but it still remains satisfying, presented like an anime score with a stoic Sleep wandering the landscape. “ALIVE” features Talaj on the mic, supplying a dose of his own visceral, off-top style of rhymes. The aptly titled “Rain in tha canyon” shows the vocal range of Sleep as he harmonizes in hopeful fashion to close out the album.
Deeply Rooted connected with both artists about this project.
KNGKVMI (Talaj): “Sleep Sinatra is a humble but also very skilled artist. I think bro is taken for his kindness, or just taken too lightly! When really bro is better than most! Me and bro been working for awhile now, this is really a tease of what’s coming, that’s why we called it B4THESTRM, like they quickly prepared us for this virus, yea prepare for whats going too happen! We both on a rise and ready to take whatever!”
Sleep: “Me and KNGKVMI first linked up for my record [D]ARKANGEL in 2018 . I reached out I believe for some production initially and he sent over a batch of beats. Over the years of building with each other we’ve grown to really compliment each other’s styles sonically and we began building a catalog with the intention of giving the world a full length project as the end game. But we just keep adding joints though and more and more heat would come of it so we decided to give the people a taste of what we’ve been working on.
Sleep is a versatile emcee who can float on just about anything. The mostly calm vibes of the project, courtesy of Talaj, suit Sleep’s current form of a relaxed flow and zen-like delivery. B4THESTRM could perhaps use some added sonic elements for some varied soundscapes, but it seems as though this is just a light appetizer before both Talaj and Sleep drop their upcoming full length BRAINSTORM.
Cop the B4THESTRM here: