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Kottonmouth Kings – Sunrise Sessions Review

July 19, 2011 | Posted by Bill Wannop

KMK Sunrise SessionsThe Kottonmouth Kings are a music group from California who have grown into an entity unto themselves, by not only producing their own brand of psychedelic hip hop/punk rock, but also by forming their own label, Subnoize Records. The Kings have been putting out albums for over 15 years and if you are familiar at all with the KMK you will know what they stand for. The Kings are back still packing the same message with their 18th Studio album, Sunrise Sessions. Does the KMK continue to get their message across in an entertaining way or is the sun setting on their careers?

Track Listing
1. “Stonetown”
2. “Love Lost”
3. “Down 4 Life” (feat. Jared of (hed) p.e.)
4. “Kalifornia”
5. “My Garden”
6. “Boom Clap Sound”
7. “Back Home”
8. “She’s Dangerous”
9. “Ganja Daze”
10. “Stay Stoned”
11. “Stoned Silly”
12. “Closing Time”
13. “Cruzin”
14. “Great To Be Alive”
15. “Be Alright”
16. “Said and Done”

In case you forgot what the group was all about, they remind you in quick fashion on the first track “Stonetown” which is a mythical type land that the kings have created, where everyone just is stoned. While the idea is sound, the song is just too mellow to really get into it. The kings get more into the groove in the reggae infused hip hop track “Love Lost” as well as on the similar sounding “Down 4 Life” where the KMK basically name drop all the acts that are down with them or that they have toured with. Both tracks are decent head bangers, but are somewhat forgettable due to their generic nature.

The KMK really find their mark on the tracks “Kalifornia” which has them rapping about the great state from which they are from and actually do a great job of painting you a mental picture. The laid back mood continues on “My Garden” which again has them more sing/rapping the song which is infused with reggae elements.

This is something that you notice right away on this album, is that the KMK sound has changed. They are a lot less hip-hop on this album, and almost completely gone are the elements of rock/punk that were prevalent on the previous releases. What is left is a rap/rock/raggae almost pop type sound, which is really laid back. The sound however somewhat works for the group. When the kings go into this zone they create some of their best track such as “She Dangerous” which could be a huge radio song, and really by listening to it, would not think that it was performed by the KMK. Other standout tracks on the album incldue “Ganga Daze”, “Closing Time” and “Be Alright”, which really have the kings getting personal in their lyrics.

The album has a reggae infused mellow hip hop that actually works well for the group. The reduction of the puck and rock elements really make this a much more complete and polished album from the melting pot of styles they have included on albums past. However some of the more hip-hopish tracks seem out of place mainly due to the beat selection which is more of a bass driven dub step sounding beat. Tracks like “Boom Clap Sound” seem like a forced attempt to add a bass heavy track to the album.

D-Loc also seems to somewhat under perform on this cd whereas he has been a standout for the group on previous albums. He seems to take a back seat and really gives the reigns to Johnny Richter who seems to fit these types of track better. Another somewhat big negative is the track listing. They released and EP Legalize It a couple months ago to tide fans over until this release. However, what they have done is put some of the same songs on this album as well (“StoneTown”, “Ganga Daze”, “My Garden”) these tracks are not even changed or remixed. It is the exact same songs on two albums which is somewhat unacceptable basically trying to sell the same thing twice to your fans. Considering the band stated that they recorded over 60 songs for this album, you would think that they could have put all original material on the disc.

The 411: The KMK have always been a melting pot of styles, however with the addition of their many side projects (X-Pistols for punk/rock, Kingspade for hip hop) they seemed to find a more focused sound and the end result is a more complete album. The Kings can really excel on the slower mellower songs, and the reggae infused sound seems to really work with them. However addition of songs released on the previous EP hurt the overall score.
Final Score:  7.0   [ Good ]  legend

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Bill Wannop
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