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Written by Logan Woodard
In the mid-1970’s, a new form of music known as “punk rock” emerged on the scene that left classical rock fans in awe. It proposed fast paced, edgy vocals, gritty metal guitar, stripped instrumentation, and lyrics that were often backed by anti-government and political principles. It’s unique, DIY-style approach to production, videos, and the overall ethics of a punk rocker still sinks its own roots in many music artists, genres, and styles all over the world today. Now, in the new year of 2021, we’ve found rap music itself has tested the waters on rap-rock hybrids of sound; introduce Kenny Mason’s “Pup.”
Atlanta-based rapper Kenny Mason released his single and music video for Pup, an electrifying, intrepid, 808-guided record that uses a vast amount of elements to convey its meaning. It’s DIY nature feels organic, using a very stripped down form of drums built on a foundation of deep 808’s and coarsely-amplified heavy guitar. It’s powdered lightly with swooshing, reverse-like bells to loosely tie in the production together, and also to provide Kenny harmonics to his vocals. His free, untethered rapping and singing adds a raw-like variance to the song that keeps you at the edge of your seat. Towards the halfway mark in the video, the production switches up. It raises the BPM, brings in a softer, alternative guitar to change the chord progression, and yet again is forced up against the wall by heavy bass and percussion. It’s quite a paradox to have such intense yet delicate forms of music combining all in one. “Pup” brings such a confusing ball of emotion to one’s mind in the midst of the consumer’s first listen, but in such a phenomenal way.
On the topic of visuals, they compliment the record so effortlessly. Directed by Nasser Boulaich and Unkle Luc, the song is strongly gripped by mush-like VFX, unsettling colors and a unique approach to cinema that’s often not seen much anymore in rap music today. Immediately upon starting the video, you feel automatically thrown into a Stephen King classic mixed with an old, corny 1980’s slasher film. The frames are constantly meshing, colors bouncing back and forth from intense to dull. This style of video also plays into the topic of it’s punk rock influence as we mentioned earlier. One could assume that the video isn't necessarily here to provide any physical additions to the audio; more or less, it might be here to stimulate another region of senses to help understand the underlying tone or nature of the song. There are many opinions one could have overall on Kenny Mason’s “Pup,” but one think we know for sure: Kenny Mason is no stranger to pushing rap music’s boundaries.
Kenny Mason had a successful year of 2020. In the midst of a pandemic, rioting, social and racial injustices, this Atlanta-rapper was able to truly find his voice. Releasing his debut album Angelic Hoodrat, Kenny garnered a substantial amount of internet buzz and success. Before his debut, his 2019 sensation “HIT” really caught the attention of hip-hop/rap music fanatics in his hometown, essentially paving his path to success from that point on. In an interview with WTBU, Kenny is asked “What motivates you to keep working hard?” He then responds, saying: “The sheer love of it. I am obsessed with music. If I like one of an artist’s songs, I usually listen to the whole album. It really is just my obsession with music and the desire to be one of the best.”
We’re hoping to see Kenny Mason take his career in music even farther and fans are anxious for new projects and collaborations from the newest Atlanta talent. Check out Kenny Mason’s “Pup” in the link below.