Remember Killa Kyleon's Natural Born Killa?
Houston's history is dotted with albums that, fairly or not, have been swept aside. We'll examine them here. Have an album that you think nobody knows about but should? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natural Born Killa (mixtape, 2010)
Back in February, Killa Kyleon threw a picture up on his Twitter of himself wearing an AMG chain. That was about all of the official notice anybody got that he had separated from Slim Thug's Boss Hogg Outlawz.
Half of his fan base applauded the move, arguing it was far overdue, that he was underappreciated and ineptly utilized in BHO, that his career was perpetually hamstringed by Slim. The other half said otherwise, arguing that Kyleon didn't lack the presence of character to strike out on his own, that he was built to fill the Scottie Pippen role. At the moment, it appears the former was correct.
Hosted by DJ Drama, Natural Born Killa was released back in April but didn't start gaining any steam until maybe a month ago. It's the best mixtape Killa has ever made, or been a prominent part of. Mind, there are a few flubs, but by and large it is crisp, clean, well-conceived and showcases what it is that keeps food on his plate.
Y'allmustaforgotability: 97 percent
This number is skewed a bit by the fact that this is a proper mixtape, which means a) all of the tracks sort of bleed into one another, so it can be a bit tricky differentiating when one song starts and another song ends; and b) a bunch of the tracks have no chorus, and that makes it damn near impossible to even guess what the title of a song is.
Notes We Took While Listening To The Album Over And Over Again:
- The "OMG it's AMG!" refrain that Killa has taking to shouting is actually kind of fun. It seems like you'd grow to hate it, but it's the opposite. Apropos, considering...
- Over the years, Killa's voice has manifested itself into a very specific, very honed jab. You kind of have to get used to hearing it. Thugga's voice takes it's time finding your ears. Killa's sprints there. But once you get used to expecting it, it's very effective. The more you listen to this album --particularly new Killa fans-- the more you'll like it.
- He sample's Evanescence. And the Goodfellas movie. And possibly that piano from the Zales commercials.
- He goes back to back with pop culture references on "Benjamin," hat tipping Don Imus's ignorance and Andrew Bynum's knee in the same bar. That's probably the first time that's ever happened in all of history.
- "Swang Real Wide" makes an appearance. Killa's trebley, urgent flow is a nice antagonist to Ro's snail-slow monster grumble. There's a line where Ro mentions how good it feels to close Lamborghini doors. Perhaps he closed one after he got of the passenger seat and made his way over to that minivan with the swangers on it that he pushes around? Fuckin' Ro. That guy is the best.
- For much of the tape, Kyleon does not do anything terribly innovative, but he mostly does everything very well. One makes up for the other.
- Cory Mo makes a cameo on the bassfully boasty "I Live It." It's like stepping into a time machine. His verse is an anachronism in and of itself.
- Somehow, a song called "Fuckin' Right" that features the oft-maddening Hurricane Chris ends up being one of the standouts. Great production, solid verses, nice angle. It's fun. The structure of the song calls for a bunch of proclamations and affirmations: "I'ma talk bread til' I can't no more/ You fuckin' right/ Cocaine bought me everything/ You fuckin' right." Things like that.
It's the only type of track Hurricane Chris should ever be allowed on. He sounds like an absolute winner. His best line: "I kinda wanna fuck Nicki Minaj/ You fuckin' right." That's first-rate for all sorts of reasons. We can't stop picturing him there debating on whether or not he wants to nail Nicki Minaj. What an excellent conversation to have with yourself. Oh, and the first half of Kyleon's closing verse is tremendous. It's lots of fun to rap. If you were to take 20 minutes rewinding it over and over again to learn the words, it would totally be worth it.
- It's cool that he made a track about the plus-sized contestant from Tyra Banks' America's Next Top Model ("Tocarra"), but the track is mostly unnecessary. Worst line: "Rain, rain go away." It feels like maybe he was listening to Jeezy's Thug Motivation a lot right before he made it. On the plus side, though, it did force him to make a NSFW rap video. Thick black chicks dancing wipes away a lot of doubts about whether or not a song was essential.
- He offers back to back remakes of "Hit Dat Hoe" and "Flex." He's made his name hijacking an artist's beat and crushing it into a stupor. It's a fun four minutes.
- The most unexpected song is "Sumthin 2 Talk About," a distinctly boom-bap hip-hop track. It makes us want to do that dance that they do in the beginning of Tony! Toni! Tone!'s "It Feels Good" video.
- He closes with his version of Slim Thug's "Thug," which is interesting for a bunch of reasons, though only one of them is really relevant: Was it a shot at Slim, a "You See What You Made Me Do?" type of situation? That's when a guy and a girl are arguing and she smacks him or keeps grabbing at him until he reaches back and coldcocks her and then is like, "You see! You see what you made me do!?" It's also referred to Chris Browning someone.
In short, no it wasn't. When we asked him, Killa wrote: "It was just a hot track and I wanted to spit to it... all respect." Still, it's funny to think of him and Thug arguing like boyfriend and girlfriend.
Worst Feature on the Album: Allie Baby's verse from "Pussy Good"
The face that you make whenever you try to read the wattage number on a light bulb that's still on is the face we made the entire time we listened to Allie Baby on "Pussy Good." Her best, most disconcerting line: "Pussy got an attitude, spit at a nigga." Yikes. How could you ever take her home to meet your family?
You: Mom, meet Allie. Allie, meet Mom. Allie: Nice to meet you, ma'am. You have a lovely home. Mom: Why thank you, Allie. That's sweet of you to say. Allie: It's true, ma'am. It really is splendid. I just love that armoire. Mom: So, Allie, I hear such wonderful things about you. Allie: [blushes] Is that so? Like what, ma'am? Mom: Well, I hear you're on the swim team. And active in the student council. Allie: True and true. I enjoy staying busy. Mom: Oh, and I hear that your pussy has an attitude. And that it spits on niggas. Allie: [giggles] Guilty. Mom: That's marvelous. I remember when my pussy had an attitude.
That conversation could never, ever happen.
Obscure Fact(s) You Can Pawn Off As Your Own To Make Yourself Look Smart:
Killa might be the king of self-appointed nicknames. The spelling may be a little off because Microsoft Word is not yet equipped with a Rapper Nicknames function, but here are a few of the ones he's gone by/referred to himself as: Agent Double O Flow; Billy D. Millions; David Hustlehoff (personal favorite); Killa Gorilla; variations of Mr. I Run It; Nolan Grindin'; Kill "Million Dollar" Bill.