Is Khingz's New, Emotionally Heavy Liberation of the Monster the Best Rap Release to Come Out of the Town This Year? While We're At It, Here Are My Top Five:

Wandering Worx Entertainment

"Liberation of the Monster is a sonic assault on all the preconceived notions that chain a person to mediocrity." --Khingz

Released today on Vancouver, B.C.'s Wandering Worx Entertainment (the same label Planet Asia currently calls home), Liberation of the Monster is an extremely well-rounded album that was put together with B.C. producer Rel!g!on. With 11 songs' worth of space to fill, Rel!g!on has the freedom to explore a full palette of different moods, and Khingz's breathless, forcefully enunciated words guide the transitions as much as the layers of instrumentation.

Khingz's effortful delivery may strike the ear more bluntly than that of a lot of MCs, but his tracks rely heavily on the listener's ability to digest his lyrics, and once you get past any initial qualms with the lack of musicality in his voice, you realize how refreshing it is to have an effective communicator on the mike. His verses are poetic and emotionally charged--which he is able to convey without raising his voice for emphasis. There are moments of braggadocio, but they're subtle and clever: "You lion, we speak in roars" ("DPG In NYC"); Khingz dances around literal issues with figurative wordplay, which is all the better to capture the complexity of emotion. When he takes on a subject like love--which he does constantly--he approaches it from all kinds of different angles. Whether he's talking about a person-to-person relationship or a relationship with life or some higher power is occasionally left ambiguous, but is handled well in all regards, often anchoring a vehicle with colloquial imagery like "You're not bad, you're just drawn that way like Jessica Rabbit," on "Oh the Humanity".

In LOTM (which you can listen to/buy HERE), the South Seattle MC has put together a highly polished record--which is kind of amazing considering the sheer number of other projects he appears to be working simultaneously. So where does it stand in the Town's top five rap releases so far this year? Here's how I felt:

1. Shabazz Palaces: Black Up

SP has been hard to top, with forward thinking sounds, aqueous song structures, and quietly complex lyricism. Although I wasn't able to dive into Black Up and simply swim in its glory as easily as I was in their two previous EPs--it has taken more sifting for me--it has turned into the gift that keeps on giving.

2. Khingz: Liberation Of The Monster

Khingz is the kind of MC whose genuine nature and firm convictions land him near the top of my list on his own accord, and this thoughtfully produced, well-focused project is his best product to date.

3. Avatar Young Blaze: The Iron Curtain

Av is a cold, calculated gutter-life documentarian who filters his intricate, best-in-class wordplay through his chilling delivery, and TIC is a definite hit.

4. The Physics: Love Is A Business

Glossy, feel-good soul-rap from a few of the town's finest. The Physics may have the widest appeal of anyone on the list, and are gaining notoriety rapidly.

5. La: SeaLab 2012

La can pick up the mike and rap circles around almost anyone, and the moments where the project's producer Jester plays up to his level are awesome displays of rap.

Honorable Mention: Don't Talk to the Cops!, Regular Show; Art Vandelay, They've Got My Number Down at the Post Office

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