4/11/17 – Knxwledge. “Hud Dreems” (2015)

Knxwledge (Glen Earl Boothe) is an extremely prolific producer/beat maker that I’ve been following for 6 years now, and he’s remained one of my favorite producers of all time. He cuts and splices Hip-Hop, R&B, Jazz, Soul, and more into a creation entirely his own. He has a series of remix albums under the banner of “Hexual Sealings” (R&B) and “Wrap Taypes” (Hip-Hop), but Hud Dreems is one of his other albums where he’s not bound to a theme, the sources for samples are from anywhere, and I think one of his best and most consistent albums.

Knxwledge’s sound is completely unique in a sea of Hip-Hop producers and beat makers. It’s very stop and start, loud and soft, almost like a hiccup of drum beats and Soul vocals. The pitch of the original vocal sample is almost always altered in some way, and the direction each song takes is very erratic. He will interject one sample for another at seemingly random times, never coming in when you expect him to. The songs on this album are very short, most ranging from 1-2 minutes long. In many ways his albums are diary-like: short, random thoughts and ideas that he had at one point and are now put into this collage. He’s fond of finding samples where someone says “knowledge” – of the over 600 unique songs I’ve listened to, I can’t tell how many different sources he’s found.

Letuleave.[Geekdop] is a great example of his works – soulful samples, shouts of “knowledge!”, and a complete 180 shift halfway through the track. Sometimes I try to guess where he got his samples from, but it’s almost impossible. With how well chopped and dismantled they are, I have no hope of guessing where some of these samples come from. Each song is so robotic and random, like 3 or 4 songs just smashed together, struggling to play in the same space. This all makes for deeply fascinating music, much more than the boom bap Instrumental Hip-Hop that you can find anywhere and just sounds simple in comparison. The longest track Trsh lasts only 3 minutes long but it is packed with so much. It goes back and forth between a number of radically different Soul samples as inaudible chatter goes on in the background and thick beats keep it together. Occasionally on his music you can make out half of a word, but not enough to get a clear understanding. Nvrending I think uses a sample from a TV show in the 70s or 80s.. I’m not really sure. Demskreets.Fekts starts off with Knxwledge’s favorite sample, someone saying:

“Word up, you know what I’m saying? I ain’t fronting with nobody else. You know, you know, when Schmidty gave me the word, know what I mean, I gotta’ let Knowledge be heard”.

It always makes me smile to hear one of his signature samples on a track, they’re almost like an inside joke. But just the sound of any of his music is signature enough, there is no one that mixes music like he does. I’m happy to see him get some mainstream success recently, but the way he makes beats normally is almost impossible to rap over, at least someone bringing their pre-existing style. He toned down his style for NxWorries (collab with Anderson .Paak) and when he produced a song for Kendrick Lamar. I’m still hoping for a rapper with a song as erratic as his producing style.

The downside to this style of music creation is that the songs and albums start to blend together. Apart from the theme’d albums he’s made, the album cohesiveness and identity is just not there with Knxwledge’s works. I would normally take big issue with this, but it truly does not bother me here. I can listen to literally hours of his music without getting bored, even though it might seem very “similar”. His skill has a producer has absolutely grown and it’s very interesting to see his evolution over the years. My first introduction to him was Konsistensi (2011), and I was so pleased to see he is this prolific. If you are a lover of R&B or Hip-Hop, you will find something here to love as well. If you only love one of the two genres, then check out his “Hexual Sealings” or “Wrap Taypes” series of albums, those feature some fantastic remixes that are worth listening to.