Three studio releases in and KB is at his creative zenith. For years, the Tampa native has been something of an outlier in hip-hop, firmly placing a thumbprint on the game while invoking the power of spiritual conviction. His lyricism is impassioned and astute, and he won’t be bent against his will. Given his commanding presence and consistent output, it comes as no surprise that the world has taken notice. The track “100” from the EP of the same name, took home the Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop Song of the Year in 2014. And his last LP, 2015’s Tomorrow We Live, garnered both critical and commercial acclaim, earning a Stellar Award nomination for Rap/Hip-Hop Gospel CD of the Year and debuting on the Billboard charts as the No.1 Christian Album and the No. 4 Rap Album overall.
Now in 2018—with the world in a social and political frenzy—KB is redefining what rebellion truly means. Today We Rebel, his third full-length album with Reach Records, is an exercise in zeal and imagination. No-frills, no filler. Just raw, uncut transparency through and through. KB follows his artistic impulses to great effect, lending his take on terms that are dominating the cultural conversation.
“To me, resistance carries with it a certain posture,” KB says. “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
From start to finish, the 14-track album is chock-full of wordplay, intricate flows, and chest-pounding production. Sonically, it’s a mixture of emotion and aggression, which KB describes as “cinematic trap.” It comes across effortlessly, which is a testament to KB’s grind and respect for the craft. The hard-hitting lead single “Monster,” featuring Aha Gazelle and produced by Halo Hitz and Cardec, showcases KB’s verbal dexterity: “This ain’t my first rodeo/check my portfolio,” he spits. On “Not Today Satan” KB and Andy Mineo both deliver the goods, trading verses about the need to shun evil in order to maximize your witness and calling. Produced by Cardec and Cobra, the track has an anthem-like feel, its bounce and musicality begging to be performed live.
All throughout Today We Rebel, you can feel the urgency in KB’s tone. “It’s a lot more introspective,” he offers. “The older you get, the more aware you become of the human struggle, and the struggle in your own heart.” This kind of clarity is what makes KB such a necessary voice for today, a vessel to be poured out for this generation. “I’m just a man being honest about the world as he sees it.”
The Mykallife-produced “DNOU” has KB flexing his skill over an infectious piano loop. “Boy, don’t nobody own us” he roars, his smooth cadence riding the beat expertly. There’s no question that this is KB at his most self-actualized; a man who understands his mission and is compelled to motivate others to do the same. “I couldn’t stop if I tried,” he says. “And I want to rebel against anything that would ever threaten to slow me down or get in the way of my progress.”
When it’s said and done, Today We Rebel is KB drawing a line in the sand. It provides ammunition to help us confront the anxiety of the times. And KB lays it all out, serving as a reminder that we’re at our best when we are truly free, “I understand now more than ever that my allegiance is to the kingdom, first and foremost. Everything falls second to that.”