In the work of British emcee/visual artist Kid Acne, two elements of hip-hop culture—emceeing and graffiti art—converge to calibrate and stimulate the eyes and ears of hip-hop heads, punk rockers and visual art lovers. And on his latest album Romance Ain’t Dead (2008) the evolution of his work is even more sly, personal and urgent.
Making full use of his skillful this-is-my-life reporter rapping, Kid Acne takes you through a sophisticated trip racing over a seamless production mix of old school hip-hop and punk rock riffs (Req One and Ross Orton). Front to back, the journey is just as fun, vivid and engaging as flipping through his portfolio of t-shirt designs and street art.
Song to song, he might be happy, sad or mad; but whatever the emotional undercurrent, Kid Acne’s sonic aesthetic celebrates the banging pleasure of old-school hip-hop drum machines while splicing in mangy guitars riffs that bleed the beautiful brevity of punk rock’s cut-to-the-chase credo. The production and careful study of his crafty comical rhymes demand repeat listens as he pokes fun at himself via “the two phones of drug dealer” on “Worst Luck”. The swift and sweet romance of Kid Acne’s idiosyncratic storytelling is clearly still in full effect since his first releases in 2001, and it’s also safe to say that this entry way into his perpetual world of visual and recorded art is wide open and demands jumping into.