The major label debut from LA’s Kid Ink finds the MC taking his own lane right into the pop mainstream and it’s not a smooth ride. Ink mostly relies on a nasal singsong flow that, too often, accidentally detours into monotony over slickly produced club beats borrowed from better sources. Hip-hop is so saturated with songs about women and partying, Ink’s additions to the hey-ho hedonism become wearying. He’s best when he engages in introspection while acknowledging a bigger picture on “No Miracles” featuring Elle Varner. When Ink toughens up his rhymes on “Murda” alongside Pusha T he shows the kind of heat that’s lacking elsewhere. Tracks like “The Movement” are wildly overproduced, forcing the MC to strain to leave an impression. Some songs might make inroads in clubs, but is it too much to ask one of the most prominent new voices of 2014 to offer something more relevant than “We Just Came to Party”? For hip-hop’s sake, clearly it is not. (Out now)
ESSENTIAL “No Miracles”Ken Capobianco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.