Street: 01.17
Kemp. = The Pharcyde + Brigham Young with attitude

“Emo raps perfected,” boasts Kemp. on “Cougar Tails.” It’s a striking moment on a record that does get, well, emotional. Still, that line works on a couple of levels—as both a raison d’être and an endearing moment of self-deprecation. Kemp. is clearly aware that there aren’t many genres less appealing than wimp-hop, but he goes for it anyway and deserves credit for trying to transcend it, too. He covers a lot of ground, lyrically—rapping about Mormonism, West Jordan and even Minor Threat. Respect. That’s difficult subject matter to tackle in any genre. He has skills, and whoever did the beats has an ear for hooks, too. However, I do wish he had ignored the little voice in his head responsible for “Heaven Is a Place.” Teary-eyed ex-girlfriend rhymes over acoustic guitar riffs? C’mon, dude. Just keep that shit in your diary. –Dan Vesper