Allan Kingdom, Alex Wiley, Saba, A Billion Young | Cobra Lounge | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader

Allan Kingdom, Alex Wiley, Saba, A Billion Young Member Picks Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Fri., Aug. 29, 9 p.m. 2014

St. Paul MC and producer Allan Kyariga, aka Allan Kingdom, raps like a contortionist who’s taken up breakdancing—he bends words into oddball shapes, and sometimes it sounds like the effort pushes his voice up into an endearingly silly yawp. Kyariga deftly switches up the pace of his flow midstream, and he can swiftly transition from pent-up rapping to soothing falsetto singing. He produced the majority of the 12 songs on his most recent self-released EP, the low-key Future Memoirs, and they’re exciting even at their quietest moments. On “Observe” Kyariga gooses a minimalist, shimmering instrumental with the sort of stuttering percussion that’s usually deployed in gut-punching turn-up raps—a combination that helps his rapping pop, even though he’s backed down from his usual vocal athleticism in favor of nuanced shifts in tone. His easygoing, charming personality does as much for Future Memoirs as his talent, and his youthful enthusiasm makes even his strangest rap acrobatics and production choices sound fun. On “Evergreens” he rhymes casually over a feathery flute melody and booming horn sample: “I’m wonderful, I’m wonderful / That works for me.” Most of the time, I find it hard to disagree. —Leor Galil

Price: $5

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