Kokayi: Robots & Dinosaurs

Kokayi: Robots & Dinosaurs
Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, emcee, and producer, Kokayi cracked the Top 100 Billboard charts as a guest on Wayna‘s 2008 single, “Loving You”. Unfortunately, Kokayi has never produced the same success as a featured artist. He attempts to break into the mainstream with his new album, Robots & Dinosaurs.
The lead single from Robots & Dinosaurs, “RoxTar” sounded like it had that mainstream appeal. The track has that hip hop lingo meets hip hop sensibility a la The Shop Boyz‘s “Party Like a Rockstar”. The track has a beat that reminds me of Saul Williams‘s “List of Demands” while the lyrics squeeze as many rock band names in as possible similar to Gym Class Heroes‘s “Taxi Driver”. Luckily Kokayi’s track is much better than Gym Class Heroes’s attempt at the same concept.
Kokayi’s style reminds me of Blackalicious‘s Gift of Gab. His annunciation is impeccable and his flow is versatile; he can rap fast or slow and sounds good doing it either way. His main weakness is his lyrical content. He obviously is trying to be an atypical rapper but the entire middle of the album gets far too mushy. It starts off with the piano ballad “Only” that seems like it is the token R&B-tinged love song. But where most hip hop albums just contain one such song, Robots & Dinosaurs continues the theme with the acoustic guitar-based “Autumn Rules.” The album really loses momentum right in the middle for three or four songs before picking up again coming down the closing stretch.
If not for that mid-album lull, Robots & Dinosaurs might have been one of the stronger hip hop releases I have reviewed this year. Instead because of the lull, the album ends up being on the higher end of mediocre.
Rating: 7.5/10
MP3: Kokayi “RoxTar”
Buy: iTunes