Looming at the edge of the underworld’s shadow, Kings Konekted pass off copies of their debut EP The Campaign under a jacketed arm: six tracks of street corner discussions and heavyweight production by Stricknine (Thirstin Howl, Tim Dog, KRS One), Prowla and Trem. These are tales of treachery, trust and hidden malefactions conducted in broad daylight.
Partners in crime from an early age, Indigenous Australian/Italian Dontez and Serbian/Australian Culprit forged their bond through exposure to the self-perpetuating cycle of violence and crime devouring the western suburbs of Brisbane. Bearing witness to a crumbling community, Kings Konekted illuminate the visceral, ugly reality that passers by prefer to ignore. Theirs is a world hidden in plain sight; one ruled by a code of silence, dirty money and thirst for respect.
Production of The Campaign is handled by elder statesmen Stricknine, Prowla and Trem. Standout tracks include the frenetic Repertoire, hostile opener Good Blood and Handshakes, and the intricately layered Debts and Conflicts.
On lead single Repertoire, Stricknine weaves layers of ominous strings and an urgent harpsichord loop through thick drums and a foreboding bassline. Dontez delivers a ferocious rebuke, setting the stage for Lazy Grey’s scalding feature, thick with cultural references that only a veteran can deliver. Culprit’s final verse is a searing warning to pretenders to the throne, with Stricknine’s precision cuts demonstrating his trademark flair for sample selection.
“It’s the winners, losers, beggars, choosers, innocent and guilty, dealers and the users: we’ve sewn up this industry and started from a thread.”
The sinister atmosphere of Good Blood and Handshakes, followed by the sharp ambush of The Round Table (feat. Brad Strut) displays Prowla’s cavernous and impenetrable production at its best. ‘Secular Security’ (feat. MF Grimm) draws us inexorably towards The Campaign’s standout, Repertoire. Typically refined and densely layered production from Trem on The Standard and Debts and Conflicts brings the EP to a chilling close, with Stricknine’s cuts slicing to the bones.
Kings Konekted garnered a cult following among fans and hip hop luminaries alike with their 2009 pre-album release Trails to the Underlair They are the only Australian group to be signed to Class A Records, whose alumni include MF Grimm and Thirstin Howl III, and were the only up and coming artists featured on Trem’s seminal For The Term Of His Natural Life LP.
The Campaign will be released nationally on CD and iTunes on April 19. An extremely limited run of vinyl will be available for online pre-orders and in selected independent stockists. Kings Konekted will tour with Trem for his national album launch in 2013.