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Review: (Singles) Kelo Kaddafi is laying down his hip hop roots in Nashville

Kelo Kaddafi is a new name to me, but his rap style in the tracks “Things That I Had Wanted” and “The Calm” are strong first-showings. These are both explicit tracks from the Indiana rapper. He’s now based in Nashville and his songs prove he can hold his own.

Kaddafi’s team calls “Things” a “humbly aggressive” track. I agree – it’s humbling, but I wouldn’t exactly call it aggressive. Power? Or ambition? Yes and yes. With lyrics like “when you’re grown, no one gives you a shot, bro” and “gotta take it if you want it,” as a listener I feel this Charles Dickens-like parallel. His childhood didn’t define him – he grew up poor (“nobody had the bread” he drops) and now he’s not looking back on carving out his own path and success. It’s quite an empowering track.

Kaddafi’s rap style is comparable to Tech N9NE. He’s not as fast, but he holds his own. I dug the light music bed – it’s not a distraction from the lyrics. Near the end of the song, a grunt-like voice concludes the track, as if to release that anger and ready for a fight.

In “The Calm” Kaddafi shows true versatility. This is the aggressive track for me. He fills in every second with a sound, a punch, a feeling. Keeping up the theme of standing up for himself, being his own true person, Kaddafi’s lyrics like “mercenary” and “nothing comes easy” readies the listener for his sonic avalanche. Every bar builds upon the previous bar.

“The Calm” also features a quick rap-sing combo. Juicy J would be proud. He does it in an aggressive (there’s that word again) that almost feels like he’s kicking up the momentum. This song embeds itself into your day – as does “Things.” His words stalk your thinking; the flighty guitar strings compress your breathing.

I guess he is humbly aggressive. I like it!

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