Imagine being a newly-formed [yet wholly compatible] Hip-Hop duo, whose first official [14-Track!] Album together soared with critics due to its masterfully communicative depiction of each Artist's strengths as individual creators and as an amalgamated Unit, effortlessly situated into a sonic environment of Lo-Fi ambiance, complete with ‘nostalgic tape hiss and retro samples’. Conceivably, the unmistakable next step would be to continue developing the musical aesthetic that brought you success in the first place, that being your [the group’s] musical proclivity towards ‘filthy, cohesive, and authentic...verbal carnage’ fitted against an acoustic backdrop of weighty backbeats, aggressively energetic lyrical articulations, and what could be described as an 8-bit coated, Lo-Fi tinged, Boom-bap supported, evocatively-freestyle aesthetic. Turns out, what Dueling Experts have in mind is that AND MORE, as relayed by their promotional video for their upcoming album entitled, ‘Sand The Floor’, a reference to the 1984 [and 2010 remake, although the earlier version is infinitely better] coming-of-age, motivational film ‘The Karate Kid’ and specifically the training sequence where Daniel [the protagonist] becomes fed-up with Mr. Miyagi [his Sensei] and his ostensibly ‘asinine’ household tasks which Daniel has to complete. Just at the moment when Daniel is seemingly prepared to go home permanently and leave forever, Mr. Miyagi shows him the real meaning of the idiom when he says ‘Sand the floor’, demonstrating slowly-circulating movements of the hands, the famous line from the film ‘Wax on...wax off’ issuing mental images of the exact scene.
The mighty duo [Dueling Experts] consists of Ghana MC Recognize Ali, globally-influenced Rapper and the creator of 15, full-length Albums with his most recent solo Album ‘Recognition’ being given a 77/100 by Critics and labeled as ‘one of the best underground Hip Hop albums of the year’, while the other is no less accomplished. Chicago-based alt-Hip Hopper Verbal Kent [Dan Weiss] first made waves in 1999 with his group Organic Mind, a six-person ‘deep-grooved, jazzy hip-hop’ collective, and Kent’s gained experience from his time led him to amass [as of 2020] over 21 solo releases and 20+ features, although his 2015 solo Album ‘Anesthesia’ was criticized for disjunctness and ill-fit textural rhythms, a ‘staccato morse-code delivery’.
Utilizing absorbing G-Funk acoustic suaveness, simultaneously mixed with late-90s jazztronica vibes, visually paired with coloured Ink-diffusion which, in the video, saturates a contract stating the pairs ‘Experts’ status in the ‘art of Dueling’ finished with a Zhuwen red-ink stamp, the implication of ‘We are to be taken seriously and here’s why’ permeates this promo-video with artistic obscurity. This is made apparent through each Rapper’s signature timbre and subsequent lyrical themes, i.e., Verbal Kent’s purposeful, yet melodic, sharpness mixed with poetic disses capped with comicality, and Recognize Ali’s inner-city inflectional disposition, which unfortunately borders on the intelligible although imbued with clear ardor. This short, [basically] 1-minute video highlights each Rapper's signature style, and the pair complement each other's bombasticism, thus setting the foundation for what I think will be an innovative conceptualization of Mr. Miyagi’s teaching of patience, perseverance, trust in the process, and most importantly, “Either you karate do “yes” or karate do “no.” You karate do “guess so,” (get squished) just like grape.”
Recognize Ali and Verbal Kent's joint Album 'DE2: Sand The Floor' will be released very soon on December 11th, 2020, so check their Bandcamp for more details! Be sure to check back here for a review, and if you would like, feel free to leave a comment or a like if enjoy their video!
Writer: John David Vandevert [Johndavidvandevert.com]