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The Knux - F*ck You EP

The Knux

F*ck You EP

I constantly want to believe that hip-hop has simply been on an inevitable downward turn for a decade or so but is ready to swing back up. I think of the fertile late 1980s, the peaks of the 1990s—but then, apart from a few bright spots, those 2000s felt like a drought. Rap music is a streetwise art form born of the underground, but there have been so few inspiring acts to rise up of late that myself and many fellow believers in the rhythm and rhyme have been gradually losing the faith.

Luckily, it looks like that is starting to shift. I hear something like the Knux and I realize that there is still real, new hip-hop out there, and it’s ever evolving, getting weirder and better. When hurricane-displaced New Orleans brothers Kentrell “Krispy Kream” Lindsey and Alvin “Rah Almillio” Lindsey decamped to Los Angeles, they were not only changing cities but flipping the script entirely. The Lindseys—who had been writing and recording since their teens—went from being the Knuckleheads to simply the Knux, cut their debut Remind Me in Three Days, and quickly began to build momentum.

The Knux initially might feel like a bit of a novelty: just enough old school flavor, plenty of pop sense, and an overall good vibe. Dig deeper and what really makes them novel is that they’re a hip-hop-based duo who actually write, produce, arrange, and play all the instrumentation across the entirety of their records. Following up Remind Me in Three Days, they’ve got a five-song stopgap EP (before their sophomore record drops) called F*ck You, and it further solidifies the genre-defiant duo’s streak for merging head-bobbing beats, sharp rhymes, a taste for trying new things, and just enough rock-and-roll swagger. “Fruits” is a richly detailed headtrip while “Pop the Cork” is an electro-synth-laden, unabashed party jam detailing a night of bad boy good-timing. If you were waiting with bated breath for Outkast to properly follow up Speakerboxxx/The Love Below and were left let down, you very well might find salvation in the Knux. They are not straight hip-hop, which might cost them points with the serious heads not willing to accept that. Maybe those purists will complain but—as the title track says—“If you got a problem with the Knux/Two words/F*ck You.”

donny kutzbach

The Knux have made this entire release available as a free download. You can grab the whole EP here.

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