The allure of fame and stardom has drawn many a man in for a chance to bask in their glow. With two nondescript albums under their belt, Kidz In The Hall have attained varying degrees of both as they’ve navigated through the music industry. Realizing that success is a journey and not a destination, Naledge & Double O continued to hone & refine their respective crafts. So for their third album, the duo chronicled their own path as they trek through what they like to call the Land Of Make Believe. That middle ground between where you are and where you want to be.
As soon as the “Intro,” kicks in we get an idea of where Naledge’s mind state is presently. Over Double O’s subdued backdrop which crescendo’s into an electronic mix of stings & synths, Naledge spits “Every Rip Hamilton, there’s five Eddie Griffin’s/ten Len Bias’, a hunnid Ben Wilson’s/A thousand Will Gates…” Thankful for not stepping on the land mines that have left many aspiring rappers casualties strewn by the wayside, he briefly stops halfway up the mountaintop to reflect, before continuing on. Along the way they touch on that first taste of fame (“Traffic” & “Flickin”) & the extra attention it brings (“Bougie Girls” & “L.O.V.E.”).
As great as the album is up to this point, it really takes off as they explore the moment right before the metaphoric fall. “Take Over The World” fully captures the euphoric feeling of being on the top of your game, while “Fresh Academy” allows extended family Donnis & Chip Tha Ripper to revel in the moment as well. Then the album deals with how they cope when the realities of life start deflating the spoils of fame like a slow leak in a tire. “Simple Life” finds Naledge contemplating whether the bright lights are even worth the hassle. His quasi crooning delivery adds a level of honesty to the track that flat out rapping couldn’t. Never defeated, the last trio of songs explore that second wind you experience when what you work so hard for seems to be slipping from your grasp.
Drawing more on their personal/professional experiences and relying less on trying to craft a “hot” song, Naledge has come into his own as an emcee. There is now a sense of purpose and direction in his rhymes versus stringing together punch lines and metaphors like a Tekken combo. It’s like an NBA player who finally turns the corner & becomes an All-Star. He’s always had the voice and lyrics, but everything clicked this time around. This, in turn translates into the album having a common theme throughout. Double O provides Naldege with backdrops full of synths, airy strings & electronic blups, which give the album an element of fantasy. Combine the two and you got a duo who appear to be hitting their creative stride.
So while they may still be dwelling in the land of make believe, their music is firmly planted in the present and will resonate with most people. Why you ask? Because whether they want to admit it or not, everyone is chasing a dream in one way, shape or form.