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King Los’ Zero Gravity II (Exegesis)

The State of Hip Hop

Los aka King Los is one of the most respected rappers in the game right now. Los has been doing his thing since his signed on with Diddy in 2005 and after the deal fell through he signed on again in 2012. Recently Los announced that he was again leaving Bad Boy Records.

Despite not releasing a Bad Boy album, Los released a number of mixtapes that received critical acclaim. Since his last announced split from Bad Boy, Los has dropped Zero Gravity II. So let’s dig in…

This album is dark and brooding without becoming depressing. What I think what saves the feel of this album from being too somber like say Kid Cudi’s Man on the Moon (which I actually dig the album but it’s so emotional and dark that I often can’t listen to it all the way through without attempting suicide) is that Los’ signature flow and lyricism brings an energy to even the slower tracks. So it doesn’t feel like the album drags or becomes stagnant even though Los is somewhat bearing himself in the content.

Track Review

Track 1. Creator
Ft. JS
Produced by Dot N Pro

The opening track sets the stage for what follows on the rest of the mixtape. The haunting production gives the feeling of anticipation and suspension. And the song opens with these lyrics being sung:

Why would you create this King in me?

It puts so much responsibility on me

How did I get here?

Creator of the wind and the stars, the heavens and mars

Everything there is to be

Creator why are you so bad to me

Los comes in spitting about the struggle to survive the world you’re created in and the yearning to change that world.

Surpassing the passive with passion

Clashing with hopeless niggas

My hopes is to show ’em focus and growth

They expose the sickness of seeing flashing lights

Taking heed to this bad addvice

You know demons attack at night

I been dreamin in black and white

Due to lack of a true emotion

From things that I’ve sacrificed

In my past

But movin’ past it is bringing me back to life

For real Los?? On the very first track we’re reminded of why this dude gets the respect he gets. This track ends with a clip of a newscaster discussing the high murder rate of Baltimore, Maryland (Los’ hometown).

Track 2. Don’t Get In My Way
Ft. Royce Da 5’9″ & Shanica Knowles
Produced by Dot N Pro

This track opens with another news report discussing Garrett Smith, a Baltimore drug kingpin who made tens of millions of dollars before being caught. On this track Los sets the background for the man he is by describing the world he grew up in Baltimore.

Track 3. Woke Up Like This
Produced by Hunter Bressan

This track follows up the last with more tales of trapping, clubbing, and sexing.

Fell asleep trapping

Woke to the bread

Track 4. Trap House
Produced by Dot N Pro

This track begins Los’ chronicling of the decline of a trap career. He spits about his homies ended up in the feds. The track ends with a skit describing the closing of prison cell doors as you go to jail.

Track 5. Only Nigga Left
Produced by Dot n Pro

Ont his track Los reminisces about the ballers who inspired the young men in his neighborhood to get in the drug game. The most interesting about this track is that Los is rapping about the lack of connection in all of the communities he experienced whether it was other ballers  in the game, people at church, or those who work their 9-to-5s.

You oughta thank God he favored you niggas

That’s right, I serve God nigga

They ain’t gon’ teach you that on World Star, nigga

They curb y’all niggas by giving you the worst of the worst

It’s life in the words to this verse

The track ends with a clip of Sway for Sway in The Morning praising Los on his 5 Fingers of Death freestyle challenge. Sway compared Los to the greats and justifies that by having been close and been in the presence of lyrical greatness “I know what it feels like,” Sway proclaims.

Track 6. Everybody Ain’t Kings
Ft. Kobe and Devin Cruise
Produced by Peter Pan

This, right now, is my favorite track on this mixtape. The track samples Vickie Sue Robinson’s 1976 disco hit “Turn The Beat Around” and in that way feels like old school Hip Hop production. Here Los declares his royalty as a king of Hip Hop – hence the revision of his moniker to King Los.

We don’t do the same things

Everybody ain’t kings

Bow down kiss the ring

Fuck nigga bow down kiss the ring

Casuse everybody ain’t kings

Y’all ain’t fuckin wit me

Los’ flow on this track is quick, smooth, and strong like a running waterfall and the energy of the beat makes a smooth transition from the hard trap tracks that come before into the mellow tracks to come. this track ends with a clip from Muhammad Ali’s interview before his famous 1974 boxing match against George Foreman where in 8 rounds, Ali reclaims his heavyweight champion title by a knockout.

Track 7. But You Playin
Ft. Mario and Lola Monroe
Produced by Devin Cruise

This track is more of an interlude as it features Los’ girlfriend/baby mother, Lola Monroe who was once affiliated with the Black Taylor Gang group of rappers. Lola was also a nominee for BET’s 2011 Best Hip Hop Female award. Marion comes in crooning on the hook before Lola rips it in a minute and a half.

This could be us but you lying like you don’t know me

And you won’t know

if you keep on

Keep doing

your own shit

grown shit

Sincerely yours

the wrong bitch

To sleep on

The track opens with Los asking to see the girl but she saying that she’s going to the club with her girlfriends.

Track 8. Fuck The Club
Ft. Lil Al B
Produced by King Los, Polo Bandit, and Peter Pan

This song piggy backs of the last outro with Los telling his girl, “fuck the club, I’m on my way to you.” This is clearly the sexy track for the lovers. I actually really like this song as well. It ends with a clip from The Pursuit of Happyness where Will Smith’s character is telling his son to protect his dreams and go out and get what he wants.

Track 9. I Don’t Give A Fuck
Produced by Peter Pan

At this point the mixtape takes a darker more melancholy tone as Los opens up about his feelings of being disconnected from trusting connections with other people since entering the rap game.

Said I been down and out

I been through the rain

I been hurt so long

I can’t feel the pain

Los pulls from his poetic roots on this one. The song is dark and yearning. As the beat comes in Los’ quick flowing lyricism keeps the song from dragging or becoming to weighed down. Each verse starts off in first gear and builds, then slides  into a sing-song bridge and jumps into the aggressive hook where Los loudly declares, “I don’t give a fuck!”

Track 10. All On Me
Produced by Hunter Bressan and Peter Pan

This track continues Los’ determination to grind and be number one even if he has to do it alone. This song resolves Los’ earlier melancholy moment of feeling deserted by friends. Here Los resolves that it’s up to him to get what he wants and he can’t worry about whether or not anyone else supports him. The track ends with a comical skit where Los’ uncle is calling him from prison to ask for money.

Track 11. Hard Time
Ft. Kobe, Mark Battles, and Shanica Knowles
Produced by Devin Cruise

This track continues the theme of grinding with no help.

Track 12. Play Too Rough
Produced by J. Oliver

This track seems to end the conceptual material on the mixtape. Los closes out by affirming that he is the man he is because of what he’s endured in life (which he’s shared through the previous tracks).

Dangerous

The shit we been given ain’t enough

That’s why we bang, slang cane and stuff

And when we bang and aim, you duck

Los makes it clear the reason why he’s made it to be king because he’s from the streets, he’s survived the streets and dragged himself out the streets through a rough grind.

That’s why I play too rough, play too rough

I done seen Demons attack and Angels rush

Ruptured spleen, I ain’t the sickest?

My nigga the fuck you mean?

King

King_Los_Zero_Gravity_2-back-large

Wrap Up

Los includes some of his better freestyle moments and interspersed are a few more tracks including “Do Something” which features Los’ production debut and the last track, “Bar Mitzvah,” where Los makes it clear to all the other rappers out there who may try to come for his crown that he’s prepared to protect it. The mixtape has been cited for its eclectic production and content. In response Los stated:

“I wanted to revisit the hunger I started with, while sonically capturing the story telling aspect and to always lyrically stimulate but really master the art of creating music, while not compromising who I am as an artist”

– King Los

One can’t help but admire Los confidence and his grind and no one can dispute that kid got bars. This mixtape is definitely up to par with what we have come to expect from Los. This mixtape is a solid body of work that you can listen all the way through from track 1 and never get tired. To Los, RESPECT.

 

I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,

An Angry Black Man

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