Rap and reggae are strange bedfellows. Few acts within the musical universe today have gone such route. Rap superstar Pitbull is perhaps the most well-known artist to cross the two genres, and do so successfully at that. Flipsyde has also had moderate success in crossing the two genres, and in 2017, another act – Space Kamp – decided to add its name to that growing list of acts that combines the two genres. The group, composed Oskee and Adoo (clearly those are the performers’ stage names), released its debut album Terpene Station soon after its founding. The group followed up its release last week with its sophomore album Electric Lemonade. Released independently by the group on June 26, the 10-song record is a unique presentation that is well worth hearing thanks to its musical and lyrical content. ‘Homegrown,’ the album’s midpoint is one of the songs featured in this record that serves to support the noted statements. It will be discussed shortly. ‘Summer of Love,’ which comes early in the album’s 44-minute run, is another key addition to the record’s presentation and will be discussed a little later. ‘Life’s A Beach’ also shows what makes the album worth hearing. When it is considered alongside ‘Homegrown,’ ‘Life’s A Beach’ and the rest of the record’s works, the whole of the album proves itself a standout among this year’s field of new rap and reggae records.
Space Kamp’s sophomore album Electric Lemonade is a presentation that is just as refreshing as a glass of ice cold lemonade. The only difference is that it will quench listeners’ thirst for some good music while the drink just quenches listeners thirst. Of course each will cool listeners off in its own unique way, too. So really, the record’s title is fitting. The noted statements are supported in part through the song ‘Homegrown,’ which serves as the album’s midpoint. That is due in part to the song’s arrangement, which opens with a stylistic approach that is comparable to works from Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz before turning more in a direction akin to works from Flipsyde. That stylistic approach continues through to the song’s end, with its keyboards, beat and rapping, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment through it all.
The musical arrangement at the center of ‘Homegrown does plenty to show why the song (and album) proves worth hearing. The infectious composition is just one part of what makes the song stand out in this record. The song’s lyrical content, which is just as uplifting as the musical content, adds to that enjoyment. The song opens with the line, “Red eye flight/Eyes red/Feel like every night and another day/No matter how far we go/Look up at the sky/See the same stars glow/Everywhere we go/Keep it homegrown.” From here, the song’s rap element comes into play with the primary portion of the lead verse stating, “Sorry mama/It was not a phase/Just couldn’t slave for a beggar’s way/A thousand ways to make it through the maze/Through these lemons, we made lemonade/It’s organic grown/We did it on our own/Got caught in traffic/Made our own road/Forever homegrown/No matter where we go…” Things get a little difficult to decipher from here without a lyrics sheet to reference, but suffice it to say the message remains positive and uplifting. The duo wouldn’t just go negative all of a sudden. The song’s second verse confirms that statement, too. It states, “Told me I will never be nothing in my life/I am the example of what we’re doing wrong or right/took a little faith/Put that in a pie/Looked at that dude/Told him we’re gone be alright/Shot for the moon/Land amongst the stars/Took too many trips around us/People beautiful from afar/get up close/Let ‘em know who you are.” Simply put, this is a song that is meant to inspire and uplift listeners, and it is sure to do just that, considering the positive lyrical content and equally light, uplifting musical content. It is just one of the songs featured in this record that will put a smile on listeners’ faces. ‘Summer of Love’ will do much the same.
‘Summer of Love’ gives audiences more of a pure hip-hop/rap vibe than ‘Homegrown’ with its steady beat, sampling, rapping and singing from guest artist Jessica Lamb. The almost three-and-a-half minute arrangement will keep listeners engaged and feeling fulfilled by the song’s end with that arrangement and upbeat vibe. Together with the song’s lyrical content, the song stands out even more.
While much of the rhymes are rough to decipher without a lyrics sheet in this case, the song’s chorus offers just enough for listeners to get at least a sense of song’s lyrical theme. The duo raps in the song’s chorus, “Peace, a state of mind/We deserve to shine/Changes from inside/Spread your wings and fly/And at night we sing/Love is everything/It’s the summer of love.” The song’s lead verse finds the duo rapping about a female that they ‘Can’t leave her alone.” The song continues in its second verse, “Sky was yellow/The sun was blue/We sippin’ champagne out of shoes/Skip school/Sink the ship of fools/Payin’ dues/Never made the news/Sunflower, watch ya bloom…Lightning bolt/Lemonade…renegade/Acid hits/Daffodils/It’s how summer’s supposed to feel.” At an initial listen, the immediate thing that comes to mind here is that this is just a song about the famed summer of love, which took place in 1967. Researching the summer of love, it would seem to fit. According to information found about the event, it featured the music of the time (which would explain the addition of an organ to the song that would have been used at the time), free-love and drug use. Considering Space Kamp’s background promoting marijuana and mushroom use, this would be right along the noted lines. While this critic is by no means advocating drug use, the song’s overall positive vibe, throwing back to that era of positivity from Americans is something to consider. In an age when the nation is so deeply divided, the positive vibes exhibited in these lyrics and musical content makes it well worth hearing. It is just one more example of what makes this record worth hearing. ‘Life’s A Beach’ is one more example of the album’s strength.
‘Life’s A Beach’ opens with the gentle sounds of waves before its reggae-leaning arrangement starts up, the waves continuing to flow throughout the song. The arrangement is a laid back composition that matches the sense of relaxation the addition of the rap element to the mix adds even more interest to the song, ensuring even more listeners’ engagement.
The rap element in question serves as the song’s primary lyrical source. What’s interesting here is that despite the song’s title and the use of the waves sound, the song isn’t actually about being at a beach or any some such. It is just a celebration of living life, or at least it comes across in such fashion. There is even a line that states, “We won’t dine with swine/Or follow sheep…we fearless freaks/Life’s a beach/Swim against the tide/Ride the wave…” Again, this comes across as just a straight up song about living life and being one’s self, not going along with everyone else. At the same time, there is also a lot of drug reference tied into the song, so listener discretion is advised. Even with that in mind, the seeming general statement of individuality and the laid back sense in the song’s arrangement collectively do enough to keep listeners engaged and entertained. It does follow that central theme of enjoying life and maintaining a positive outlook on life that runs through so much of the rest of the album’s songs. When those songs are considered with this work and the other two songs noted here, the album in whole proves itself to be worth hearing at least once. Listener discretion just should be exercised.
Space Kamp’s sophomore album Electric Lemonade is a strong new offering from the up-and-coming reggae/hip-hop duo. That is due to its largely positive lyrics and its equally light musical arrangements, which will keep audiences engaged and entertained. Some of the record’s lyrical content is rather adult in style, so some listener discretion is advised. Even with that in mind, the overall content still makes the album worth hearing. It is also largely positive in nature. To that end, the album — out now – is worth hearing at least once as it will leave many listeners just as refreshed as a cold glass of lemonade. More information on Space Kamp’s new album is available along with all of the group’s latest news at:
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