K-HAM is a Toronto-based rapper who combines interesting, somewhat dance-inspired beats with some of the better rap lyricism to come out of North America this year. His new album, Astro Travelling 2 is the second part of a series and sees a return to the glory days of indie rap fused with trap and dubsteppy beats.
When listening to Astro Travelling 2, it’s easy to see K-HAM’s influences from both a lyrical and a songwriting perspective. Many of the beats are reminiscent of early Wu-Tang, while vocally K-HAM’s rhyming style channels the likes of E-40, NAS and even Das Racist. The more experimental side of the album comes in the beats and the way the tracks are formed. The album opener, “AT2”, is so experimental it’s almost difficult to track down a beat, but once the listener finds it, it lines up with some of the funky, strange half time the likes of Ivy Lab, Shades and Tsuruda have been championing, though with a clearly more funky pattern. In fact, many of the songs on the album such as “Camp Lazlo” and “Ceelo” also follow a stripped-down hip hop/trap crossover structure, but don’t be fooled: K-HAM is most definitely still in the wheelhouse of hip hop, albeit experimental hip hop.
The only way in which this album is in EDM crossover territory is due to these beats, but even the experimental-style sampling is much more geared to cool, chilled out indie hip hop rather than EDM. That said, fans of half time, trap and just generally weird beat structures and sampling who also love hip hop will find that Astro Travelling 2 ticks all those boxes and scratches and itch many downbeat and halftime fans won’t even know they had.
K-HAM’s Astro Travelling 2 is out now and can be streamed or purchased on his Bandcamp page.