The work of Chattanooga hip-hop artist Kendall Biggs doesn’t cling to current trends or outdated fashions-it pours straight from his heart and experiences, a roiling brew of swirling emotions and liquid melodies. Drawing in sounds from various influences, he molds these strains of noise into a coherent and mesmerizing musical perspective, one that doesn’t rely on topical themes or pop culture ideologies to lay out its relevance. Stray bits of soul, funk, classic rap and even a dash of pop’s compulsive adaptability form the basis of his aesthetic-a cavernous sound that exhales fire and is known for its lyrical lacerations.
On his new song, “Big Homie,” he teams up with producer Beatz Era to create a cosmic hip-hop minimalism, a bloop-filled landscape of skipping beats and subtle synth backdrops. There’s a fierce motivation that boils to the surface, giving each syllable a weighted force. He doesn’t simply let go of these rhythms and hope that we connect in some meaningful way-he casts these sounds directly in front of our eyes and ears so that we have no choice but to interact with these volatile wavelengths.
The track builds slowly, collecting momentum as it progresses and presenting a feral sentimentality in place of some bland series of platitudes. Biggs is clever enough to know that you can’t just assume that listeners will hold to every word and melody because you think they should. There has to be some deeper meaning behind the words and music to make that substantial relationship work. And with “Big Homie,” he creates this link (and it is a particularly memorable one) through a combination of growing menace, melodic entanglement and lyrical insight. Since he first started releasing music, you can hear the nuanced shift in arrangement and production, and it’ll be interesting to see where this continued musical evolution takes him.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.