Chronicles: Introducing KayO Redd

The area the Malphurs brothers grew up in must’ve undoubtedly been the loudest hamlet around Queens – the triune of brothers who are based in Riverdale nowadays, consists of rector Waka Flocka Flame, Wooh Da Kid and the flame-haired little brother KayO Redd, short for KayO Redd Dread, who now and again goes by the name of LL Dunkin. Where Waka Flocka has released a severe amount of twenty-five mixtapes, one collaborative album and his debut album (with a sequel LP to follow soon) over the last three years and Wooh Da Kid keeping up with about a fifth of that amount of aforesaid trap harvest, the young KayO himself recently stepped up to the plate as a mixtape DJ, a producer and a rapper to do some catching up. Half a year ago, KayO carefully started putting himself on the map, doing Q&A’s on YouTube with keen Brick Squad (Gucci Mane’s label and home to the entire crew) fans, delivering the instrumental for Wooh Da Kid’s “Can’t Change, Won’t Change” and measuring out more original material  over the internet.

First there were the collaborations, with one of his collaborative jerk tracks appearing on a trap compilation hosted by Future, and shortly after came the influx of collaborations with Fetti Gang, the Brick Squad companions representing the same Atlanta zip code such as “Go In” and “If I Die“, the latter also featuring “Sun Valley“‘s Frenchie. He didn’t hesitate to gather around his own crew consisting of Slugg Mania and Whiteboy Tommy, which was christened YNS (standing for Young Nigga Shit/Young N Succesful, in his own words “it don’t have one meaning”) who he released a couple of tracks with which later appeared on his inaugural mixtape.  Although most of his material is only new, his first appearance as a rapper on a Brick Squad mixtape was almost two years ago on the track “Mind” taken off Flocka’s “Waka Flocka Myers”. As the case may be, “Mind” is probably the most turned up track to be found on the record which is a bit of a double-cross: although he’s undeniably got that contagious and energetic 1017 ardor, KayO’s general flow is definitely more introvert and sensitive.

Stream: KayO Redd – Arsonist (Feat. Yung Joey) [Prod. By Slash Major]

On the carefully chosen date of October 17th last year, his first official Trap-A-Holics hosted mixtape entitled “YNS (The Rise Of The Sykho Soulja)” dropped which is a fairly profound compilation for a debut effort and, it has to be said, especially for a Brick Squad bambino. The first track is introduced by Flocka and as expected from KayO’s older work, the running theme on the mixtape is in an detectable 1017 vein: he tells the listener tales about his rolling stone life, getting fucked up on kush and X, starting moshpits in the club and being on the road with and in the mansion of the So Icey Boys, and he does this with a dose of wit and amicable self-mockery (“Head bigger than the world / Ego off the planet.”). Although the BSM similarity also runs through the catchy choruses, his natural voice, the soundbites (“Hold on, hold on, hold on, pow pow pow pow, Brick Squad Monopoly, hammm.. SQUAD!”) and the instrumentals, the biggest difference between him and his brothers is that he’s not sounding as militant throughout his tracks as one would expect. This however  is a positive characteristic, for he’s offering up a balance that might lead to a new subdivision of more varied Squad collaborations.

For any faithful Squad fans, the mixtape is on point when it comes to instrumentals. Most of the beats on “YNS (The Rise Of The Sykho Soulja)” are produced by Southside On The Track, the 1017 in-house producer who is possibly responsible for over half of the Brick Squad back catalogue. Southside produced the two tracks that are now honoured with a video, “Nationally Known” (stream the video under the cut) and the brand new party track “Radikool” which also seems to be a semi-hidden testimonial to the late Slim Dunkin. We got to big up KayO for introducing the first heartfelt trap ballad we ever heard too, entitled “Hypnotized”, which is an earnest serenade to the girl he’s fallen for, without a trace of contrariness. We wouldn’t say no to more Squad members stepping up and putting their Atlanta Lord Byron on.

As befits a true Malphurs, he’s most in his element when rapping over a classic Lex Luger trap beat who offered up three out of twenty tracks on the mixtape: the catchiest out of the bunch is probably also the first track we ever heard by KayO Redd, the Future-like cosmonaut-themed “Neutron” (“I’m sooo high right nooow, gotta sing this song with my nigga Lex Lugeeer..”). To run through all three Luger productions on the mixtape, there’s also “Rap Niggaz Funny” featuring Stacks On Deck delegate Calico Jones and one with fellow YNS’er Whiteboy Tommy named “Geeked Up”. Apart from representing the Young N Successful family, KayO also has place for the blood ties on The Rise Of The Sykho Soulja: Wooh Da Kid appears on “Sick Em'” and Waka Flocka too has unannounced cameos throughout the mixtape. The most remarkable partnership on the mixtape would have to be “Hella Right” featuring yet another Squad member and 32 Entertainment founder OJ Da Juiceman, KayO’s semi-tranquil and OJ’s always cheerful flows making for a nice combination. The high point of the mixtape is the track embedded above, “Arsonist” which has BSM’s Yung Joey on it – together with “Sick ‘Em” one of the more serious tracks that’s on the mixtape.

There’s Perrion, Chief Keef and now there’s KayO: it wouldn’t be surprising if this mob of upcoming and young rappers will all have dominant position within hip-hop over the next two years, and it will be interesting to see where they will take their music until that time. The scattershot YNS Sykho Soulja mixtape introduces to all sides of KayO and doesn’t pinpoint one certain direction he seems to be going in, but it’s a good warning for what’s to follow. We’ll probably be hearing a lot more from him and the rest of the Young Nigga Shit crew soon as he’s announced he’s wanting to both release, host and appear on a few more mixtapes this year. There are no dates announced yet but it probably won’t be too long until he hits us with YNS’ “Bad Khemistry”. We for one can’t wait. #SQUAD.

Stream/download KayO Redd’s “KayO Redd – YNS (The Rise Of The Sykho Soulja)” here.

01. KayO Redd – YNS Intro
02. KayO Redd – Scottland (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
03. KayO Redd – Rollin’ Stones (Feat. Slugg Mania) (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
04. KayO Redd – Nationally Known (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
05. KayO Redd – Sideshow Hoodoo (Feat. Yg Hootie) (Prod. By Dear Devil)
06. KayO Redd – Arsonist (Feat. Yung Joey) (Prod. By Slash Major)
07. KayO Redd – Different Shit (Get Sykho) (Prod. By Dennis On The Beat)
08. KayO Redd – Neutron (Prod. By Lex Luger)
09. KayO Redd – Lil Hugh Hef (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
10. KayO Redd – Geeked Up (Feat. White Boy Tommy) (Prod. By Lex Luger)
11. KayO Redd – Hella Right (Feat. Oj Da Juiceman) (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
12. KayO Redd – Goin’ Down (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
13. KayO Redd – Hypnotized (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
14. KayO Redd – Kick Back (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
15. KayO Redd – Omg Flex (Feat. Slugg Mania & White Boy Tommy) (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
16. KayO Redd – Radikool (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
17. KayO Redd – Sick Em (Feat. Da Kid) (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
18. KayO Redd – Rock Wit My Band (Feat. G Roc & White Boy Tommy) (Prod. By Willie Will)
19. KayO Redd – Rap Niggaz Funny (Feat. Calico Jones) (Prod. By Lex Luger)
20. KayO Redd – So Loud (Feat. Slugg Mania & White Boy Tommy) (Prod. By Southside On The Track)
21. KayO Redd – Yns Shoutout
22. KayO Redd – On Fire (Feat. Nation)
23. KayO Redd – YNS Outro (0:22)

Soraya Brouwer
Soraya Brouwer

LONDON / soraya @ / @sorayea

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