Image via LOS KEMET/Instagram
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Will Schube still can’t believe Larry David got Salman Rushdie to say ‘fatwa sex’ on Curb Your Enthusiasm.
LOS KEMET’s music sounds like seven different Southern sub-genres simmered in a gumbo made up of equal parts UGK, Boosie, Three 6 Mafia, Thugger, and David Banner. But it’s a blend wholly distinct to the Mississippi-raised, Austin-based MC, whose sonics reflect a peripatetic childhood soaking up sounds from all across the south.
This is music that reminds you of the pre-internet era of regional rap, when where you were from always defined your sound. While there are many benefits to the infinity of the digital age, it can feel refreshing to see an artist as devoted to what made him as KEMET is to Southern rap. After all, his first memories of rap music were hearing DJ Screw and “Cadillac on 22’s” in his pops’ car.
LOS KEMET has called Jackson, Memphis, Atlanta, and Chicago home, but now that he’s settled in Austin he’s at his most comfortable as both a rapper and a man. Though he’s still admittedly working through the trauma of unresolved childhood memories, in Austin he’s found a safe place to direct his energy to music. It’s led to his latest album, Got Drunk For The Most High, one of the best rap albums of the year.
Got Drunk is fueled by these hazy memories and scar tissue, but also, a forward-thinking attitude. As he raps on the soul sample-looping opener, “This ain’t pain rap n***a/ Soul music rendition/ I’m the modern day Marvin/ the pastime Al/ Take me to the river if them people gun me down.”
Elsewhere, on the slowly unfurling H-Town glamor of “Active,” KEMET shows off a surprisingly sturdy singing voice as he croons about gang ties and an addiction to trappin’. When he spits about ridin’ dirty in traffic, you can hear the Chamillionaire influence in his flow. Above all, though, KEMET introduces himself on Got Drunk For The Most High. It’s an undeniably assured record that is sequenced to perfection–an aspect of his game he’s been trying to level up because all of his favorite records feature this attention to detail.
During our interview, KEMET cites good kid, m.A.A.d city as a holy grail of well-sequenced records, and it’s easy to hear Got Drunk as a Southern cousin of the K-Dot classic. There’s storytelling and swagger, soliloquies and shit-talking. Its ambition is rooted in the generational projects KEMET grew up on, and with this release, LOS KEMET has inserted himself into that very conversation.