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Komplex Kai Rings True On “Do Right”
Native American hip-hop is a relatively empty playing field even when you include in the count US Native American rappers along with Canadian First nation hip-hop artists. Some that fall into this group you probably didn’t realize were part of that category. For example, did you know that the first rapper to coin the phrase “MC” was Melle Mel, and that he was part Cherokee? Or that Dirty Ol’ Bastard and King Just of the Wu Tang Clan had Native American blood flowing through their veins? Well if you didn’t then you probably don’t know that Komplex Kai, a member of the Tulalip tribes, has been frequently referred to as the Native American Tupac Shakur. No problem – that’s why I’m here to school you, Homie.
Komplex Kai has been on the grind for years. His past releases include “About the Rez”, a song that many call the Tulalip Anthem. Then there was “Perfect World”, “Invisible Race”, and “What’s Done Is Done”. With his current release, “Do Right”, it looks like 2017 just may be his year to brightly let his light shine and grab the whole wide world’s attention. So, here’s the 411 about the 7 numbers that are the sum of his album.
The “Do Right” set opens up with the joint “On The Map” where he gives a shout out to his Pacific Northwestern roots. His beats are steady and his flow is on the money. “Warning” offers up some tasty classic R&B samples that propels the tune like a twin engine CH-47 Chinook helicopter. Komplex Kai’s lyrical twists and turns work like tandem rotors which he employs as way of lifting listeners up and into the dimension in which he dwells.
If there ever was the epitome of an apology from a badass bandit then “I’m Sorry”, is it. Here this audio outlaw asks for forgiveness for the alleged crime of not asking for forgiveness. Like the old saying goes, “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to beg for permission.” On “Bag It Up” the Komplex one rolls with a throbbing 808 kick drum and an in-the pocket bass groove that’s complimented by the intermittent high pitched squeaky sound that made me want to itch my brain.
“Electro House” get’s down from the drop and is the club banger of the “Do Right” mighty mix. Kai’s delivery here is precise as a surgeon’s scalpel as he cuts through layer under layer of tough tissue on this cut. No holds are barred here - no prisoners are taken. It’s as serious as a heart attack because he makes it painfully clear that he’s an artist who knows how to kill you with a song.
During “In My Veins” we hear a snippet of a candid interview between an unnamed journalist and Komplex Kai who not only shares the details of why he loves the game but of how he loves the beats and rhymes that allow him to express himself. For him this music is a therapeutic form of release for his emotions. Few hip-hop musicians are willing to let their audience get a naked glimpse behind the curtain of who they are the way this rapper does.
Bringing it home on this compilation is the title track “Do Right”. Torn between living out our dreams while trying to do the right thing along the way, for most of us, is usually not an easy road to follow. Komplex Kai acknowledges here the fragility of the human condition and the struggle of being on the horns of dilemma. The de rigueur rules and regulations embraced by the status quo are contrary to this emcee’s no bull approach to his craft. Komplex Kai is in the house, y’all!