Bar Exam: King Chav – The Golden Lining
A One Listen Album Review
This past Friday, King Chav released his newest offering, “The Golden Lining.” It runs just under thirty minutes with seven tracks. The artwork is simple and clean, a golden streak running through a closeup of Chav. It presents well. I’ve heard a little King Chav in my day, but in recent memory his track “Born Ready” comes to mind. I’m interested to hear what he can do on an entire project. Always cool to receive submissions like this for review.
The opening track is the one I just wrote about. “Born Ready,” if I recall, is a song rapped from the perspective of T’Challa (Black Panther) and the struggles he faces in life. The track starts with a low rumbling synth, and as Chav digs in with his vocals the instrumental builds.
“I’m on my way to heaven but for now I give em hell/where I’m from, twenty one you either dead or in jail/it feel amazing looking at they faces when you prevail”
From this moment, some trumpets are added to the music bed and King Chav is going off. “you got something you’ll live for/means more when it’s something you’ll die for” The instrumental is big and the soundscape is vast. There’s a lot of layers to it, and intentionality in pieces to pull off to enhance what Chav does with the verse.
Track two is called “Free 99” and it starts off pretty chilled out. Topically he’s talking about grace and love that’s given for free.
“fixer upper/fix your bumper/switch your plate in/GPS’n your heart and soul to this destination/I know/you been fighting since your mother’s womb/I heard you made reservations inside the upper room/well put your sunday’s best on because we coming soon/maybe in the winter sun or maybe in the summer’s moon”
These rhymes are intricately woven, they’re creative and a great surprise. Subtle references to the culture, and Chav does a great job of staying on point. Some rappers just rap to rap. King Chav is coming at it with a purpose.
“Never Love Again” starts out with a big beat. There’s a piano sample tucked in the back, and there’s another sample looping in the middle of all of this. This song sounds like he’s reflecting back on a broken relationship.
“I nervously played it cool/cuz I figured that I’d never have a chance with you/Said beauty in this eye I behold/truth be told/This impression got me feeling that I found true gold/So I did hat I had to/Pulled strings like Geppetto/Cuz your beauty is a song that’s only sung in falsetto/Now anything we try will be a lie if we fail/A match made in heaven said the fires in hell”
Once again the instrumental here builds and fades with the song. King Chav also adds emotion to his performance as it goes. This one is very well done, but the familiarity of it all took some momentum away from where we were headed. This one is at the bar.
The next tune up is the title track, “The Golden Lining.” I have to add that at the top of some of these songs is some epic dialogue from a wise sounding sage type of voice. “Free your mind” is the challenge uttered as the music fades in. Here we have what sounds like a harp sample bouncing around, with a little percussive sound underneath a huge bed of dark synths. Much like the previous tracks, the production underneath Chav grows the farther he gets into his verse. His flow is easy, and hands off into this hook tightly. This song is about how we can all find blessings within our lessons. There’s always something that will connect us with God. Solid.
“Boogie Wit’ The Devil” has a slow burn to the intro here. A lot of movement to a few different sounds, some starting up high, others coming from down low. These tracks definitely use the entire spectrum and seem to not stay in only one dynamic or even stay in a certain range. This is refreshing for me. It’s all well put together, and really helps give King Chav strong support underneath his performances. This one really picks up once the beat kicks in. It feels good, and it’s a hard turn in a different direction from these other songs. I find that on these faster flows in the first verse they’re hard for me to understand every word. It might be an issue with enunciation, or it might be an issue with my ears keeping up. After we hear the hook once more, he seems to have settled in.
“Way down in the jungle beat/I’m dolomite/Living every moment on purpose/No oversight/I was molded in the darkness before the light/Set on a path of destruction/Before the Christ”
I’d say this one is at the bar for me. The concept is nice and he brings it home well. It just took awhile to get up off the ground.
Moving on, “Speak for Me” plays and the beat is in pretty quickly. It’s got some rolling 808’s and it’s fast paced. King Chav is great at building up a song slowly. He throws ideas at you and brings you in close just before he spits rapid fire bars. These verses are great, the hook here is very repetitive though, and the interesting thing about that is that he could have built the hook in the same way as the verses. The “don’t say nothin” section of the hook isn’t big enough, and then it moves back to the “don’t speak for me” section in the same dynamic without anything switching. The intensity is lost here in the hook. Otherwise this is a great track.
We finish out this project with “Higher Learning.” Chav comes at it straight away without a beat. Once more, everything seems to be growing with his performance. This one is being rapped from God’s perspective. It’s a list of who God is. Once the dust settles, Chav shares how he used to be lost and feel like he had no value, but grew close to a God who provides and who is in control.
This was an all around appealing listen. The mix is great, the production is all on point, and King Chav shows he can perform well on the mic. The emotion and intensity he’s able to bring in the booth is a difficult thing to do, and I am impressed by all he brought to the table. King Chav really spit well on this, please don’t overlook this project. For me, the first two tracks were absolutely flames, but shortly thereafter the momentum slowed a bit. Some creative decisions that were made didn’t gel well with the overall vibe of these songs, and the truth is that when you create art it’s just hard to please everyone. For all intents and purposes I’d say it’s at the bar.
Overall Rating: At The Bar