King Leo Bakari – 5: The mAlbum

Virginia native King Leo Bakari has keyed in on the extremely potent fusion of Hip-Hop and Jazz. With lyricism akin to that of the greatest Hip-Hop luminaries and sonics similar to Guru’s Jazzmatazz series, King Leo Bakari grants a full course meal on 5: The mAlbum (movie + album).

The true school musings of “Jazz Hop Sweatpants” set the tone for the album, establishing the album’s style and calling into question our current state of Hip-Hop affairs. The wailing emotion of “Fatherless Son” celebrates the resilience of fatherless young men who had to fend for themselves during the crack era. “King 2 Counterlit King” is a swift departure from the jazz motif that frames much of the album and
is a cinematic record that honestly discusses the nature of manhood. “King’s Dream” is at once lighthearted sexual fantasy and a celebration of women in Hip-Hop. “Black Magic” encapsulates the power of black culture, identity and politics and the closing number “Happifeelings,” featuring the incomparable Stacy Barthe is a fantastic reinterpretation of the Frankie Beverly classic of the same name.

All things considered, 5: The mAlbum is a breezy listen, a welcome departure from the norm and an excursion into the mind of a supremely talented artist.

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by Darryl Crews