Music

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.

KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Dance in Yo Car”

Ken Capobianco can be reached at franznine@live.com.