Kaleber - A History of Rhymin 4: X C I X

Santa's been dead, but we got gifts for you anyway. That's because Long Island's best kept secret Kaleber has returned with yet another archive of lost legends. If you missed AHOR3, you messed up, so check it, then see what Mutiny Music Group CEO The Rebel AK has to say about AHOR4:

Rap artist Jadakiss once asked, "why is there a brother up north better than Jordan that aint get that break?" Why indeed. Which brings us to rap artist Kaleber, a Long Island underground legend who has done everything that the culture and the fraternity of emceeing has asked any and everyone who picks up a microphone to do, and that is, be dope. Simple. Well, Kaleber is dope and Kaleber has been dope for a long time. Which is the point of his mixtape series appropriately titled, A History Of Rhymin. Kaleber hit us in the head with his 3rd installment of the series back in September with X C V (95) a collection of songs recorded in 1995, which showcased a 17-year-old coming-of-age Kaleber on the cusp of lyrical greatness.

Now Kaleber is back with A History Of Rhymin 4: X C I X, the roman numeral for 99, as in the year the tracks were recorded. X C I X  introduces us to a lyrically ferocious 21 year old Kaleber during his "Flava Unit " days, as he puts it. No longer on the cusp of becoming great, he quantum leaped into greatness and shows he was ahead of his time with production from K-Def (Real Live, Lords Of Underground) Poisoned Ivy League and a DJ-turned-super-producer Mark Ronson, along with special guests Sticky Fingaz (Onyx), Angel Dust and R&B singer Joya. Kaleber reveals what Beats Rhymes and Life was like for a New York emcee fighting for lyrical respect from his peers and the intense battle for the audience's favoritism. If you are old enough, you remember, but if you are young, you need to know what the atmosphere for Hip Hop was like in New York in 1999. Biggie was gone, the throne was empty and the crown was up for grabs. Rappers like Jay-Z, Nas, DMX and Canibus dominated the best emcee conversations and debates. There was no room for weak ass lyrics or beats, and there damn sure wasn't any room for wack ass rappers. You had to go hard or go home, and Kaleber wasn't going home. With songs like, "What's the problem?," "Black Moses" and the young Mark Ronson-produced track "Rule #2," along with "Love Me Later" and "All I Want" featuring Sticky Fingaz, Kaleber was here to stay. While the neck breaking epic movie styled track "The Getaway" helps us rediscover the lost tradition of storytelling, it also shows that Kaleber was a contender for those best emcee debates. In 1999, Kaleber appeared in the August issue of the Source Magazine's highly coveted "Unsigned Hype" column. Jonathan Bonnano misspelled his name, but he wrote, "Kaliber is capable of performing verbal gymnastics with vivid descriptions of hardcore images delivered with witty sarcasm." He went on to quote Kaleber's 3rd verse from the song "Rule #2 (Bad Boys)." 

The industry shut out a lot of emcees from the boom bap era and narrowed rap music down to one style of rap. A style of rap that we hip hop purists simply refer to as "dumb shit." Soulless, monotonous, repetitive, unintelligible, dumb shit. But thank God for the internet because now, those same emcees who the industry shut out, discarded and overlooked like diamonds in the rough, are now a click away from (re)discovery. In our surfing the net, we found Kaleber, who has tracks with, Kool G Rap, Dr. Dre's protege John Connor, Legacy, Kam Moye, and a timeless gem of a track called "Dope (New York, New York)" produced by the incredibly talented Nicolay, and with these dope retro tracks that Kaleber has released, it is a true testament of an emcee with a long history of being great. He should be on everybody's list and playlist, yet Kaleber remains this unknown, unsung, off-the-radar people's champ, like the "brother up north who aint get that break." A shame really, but like a subliminal message, the Michael Jordan printed cover of X C I X seems to say to us that just like a fresh pair of Jays, a classic lyricist like Kaleber never go out of style.

Word the fuck up. Stream/download X C I X above and be sure to revisit A History of Rhymin 1 and A History of Rhymin 2, as well as the aforementioned "Unsigned Hype" column, which, thanks to the aforementioned internets, is available online via The Golden Era blog. And happy holiday, dun.

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