Tue | Dec 18, 2018

Kabaka Pyramid accurate with rapping, freestyling

Published:Monday | July 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke/Gleaner Writer
Kabaka Pyramid

'Accurate' is Kabaka Pyramid's watchword, which sometimes punctuates his performances (and there was the Accurate mixtape of 2016, produced by Walshy Fire of the Major Lazer outfit ). And it could apply to the extension of his vocal skills in rapping and freestyling - the former part of his early music forays.

"It is still a part of my experience. My whole rhyme scheme and expressions, you can hear it there. Kabaka vs Pyramid is a fan favourite," he said. In that song, Kabaka Pyramid battles himself lyrically, pitting his rapping against his deejaying. "Dem say this reggae artiste can rap - really rap," he emphasised.

It does not hurt that hip hop's Jamaican roots are well known, with Kingston-born Clive 'Kool Herc' Campbell pioneering the beat. Allmusic.com states: "Kool DJ Herc is the originator of breakbeat DJing - the essence of hip hop. By isolating and repeating the 'breaks', or most danceable parts of funk records by Mandrill, James Brown, and the Jimmy Castor Bunch, Herc created the prototype for modern-day hip hop. Though others such as Grandmaster Flash perfected and elevated the technique, it was Herc who is credited for its creation."

In addition to rapping, in his concerts, Kabaka Pyramid also often freestyles, spontaneously doing lyrics which often relate to the specific circumstances of the event or a current hot topic. "Me think freestyling is one of the more special things on stage. People love it because of the moment, current affairs and all that," he said.

Despite his affinity for the stage, outside of performances, Kabaka, whose debut album Kontraband was released recently, said: "I spend a lot of time alone. I am still somebody who likes to be surrounded by close friends, not cronies or entourage. No yes-men or yes-women around me."

melville.cooke@gleanerjm.com