Album review

k-os, ‘Can’t Fly Without Gravity’

Despite five critically acclaimed albums and stardom in his home country, Canadian rapper, producer, and vocalist k-os remains a niche artist in the United States. His formula-defying sixth record probably won’t provide his breakthrough, but it’s an undeniable creative triumph. He has improved as an MC since his 2002 debut, yet continues to be a better singer and producer of engaging, hooky pop songs. And unlike 2013’s challenging rap/rock double album, “Black on Blonde,” this set accentuates hip-hop, while still playfully bending boundaries. k-os compensates for a tendency to settle for easy rhymes with extremely strong pop instincts and a keen ear for melody, as on his delightful trio of gems “Dance in Yo Car,” “Spaceship,” and “Another Shot.” While his devotion to classic hip-hop is clearly evident — he repeatedly evokes his influences, including Q-Tip on “Hussle and Flow” — the rapper lacks their invention and lyrical design. But that’s a minor problem when an artist can balance rap, pop, rock, and dancehall with such assured musicality and spirit.


ESSENTIAL “Dance in Yo Car”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at
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