At the end of 2020 KAOS Krew finally released ‘Mind Revolution’ their long awaited debut album, a passion project produced during the 1990’s that never saw the light of day until nearly 30 years after it was originally conceived, you can read more about this story here. As a follow up to this missing piece of ukhh legacy, the outfit triumphantly put out ‘Ignorance Is No Defence’ on Black Pyramid Records earlier this year, an impressive sophomore release containing an uplifting dose of boom bap, conscious lyrical framework and a smattering of that ever-present old school flavour, a well calibrated return voyage to rap. The major difference between the albums is that the first was entirely self-produced, whereas this time around there is a wide range of beat-makery present, courtesy of LSK (Faithless, Asian Dub Foundation, Nightmares on Wax), DJ Fingers (Sindecut), Tufkut (Itch FM) and Switzerland based Jailophonical, resulting in a far more compelling auditory experience. Even Kaos Krew’s own TJ Chill carves out a couple of tracks for himself, an exciting and varied selection. Although the 10 track album only has a solitary guest feature it’s a good one, MC Reason, an artist the group worked with years ago when Jonie D was signed to Positive Beat Records (as well as on the AWOL Collaboration) puts in an appearance, exciting stuff. In addition to this, cuts and live instruments on the album are handled/played by Kaos Krew members TJ Chill and Peek A Boo.
“remember it ain’t what you leave for the people – it’s what you leave in the people”
With a hiatus this long there is bound to be an expectation around the latest release, so they have assembled a serious team to esure the delivery but does it stick the landing? We locked in and had a listen.
The album opens with the titular ‘Ignorance Is No Defence’, some Funk infused TJ Chill instrumental beat work with a classic Rare Earth cover sample (a throw back to the sample used on Latin Trinity, from the first album) to get things going. ‘Bonafide’ is one of two tracks produced by Jailophonical and has a roaring guitar sample throughout, with some gentle rolling kicks to support the effortless rap exchange. Nestled among the other firepower is a great track called ‘Viva Campione’, some may recognise the sample used on this one, that’s because it’s based on the theme song of an after school cartoon on ITV the guys used to watch called Mr Rossi. TJ Chill and Peek A Boo play live guitars, percussion and even the flute on this number, giving it a really smooth feel, almost a Bossa Nova vibe, definitely different.
The LSK produced ‘Jonie Too Bad’ has a lovely rocksteady-reggae sample taken from ‘The Harder They Come’ film, a chilled out entry which features the nostalgic musings of the seasoned Hip Hop pros, including comedic commentary of those memories, a great track. The intro to ‘After Hours’ includes a poignant remark by Chester P about suggested legislation change to help the poverty stricken, which leads into the second Jailophonical track, a lightly delivered affair that connects into ‘Look at me now’, a much harder entry produced by LSK with a nice hook. This is definitely one of the stand out tracks on the album with a punchy drum set and energetically delivered wordsmithery. However, ‘Strength and Synergy’ is the track that got the most replays, a DJ Fingers produced lionizing song with a strong rolling percussive base for the artists to drop some animated bars atop, perfectly paced with an almost 3 minute exteded instrumental outro that will get your head nodding, fantastic.
There is a lot to unpack here, it’s a great assembly of live instruments, old school raps and beats a plenty, a highly anticipated return to form with a finely tuned corpus of well crafted songs.
‘Ignorance is no Defence’ is out now on all digital channels, make sure you grab yourself a copy.
As always these are just my opinons but what did you think of the album, Tweet me your thoughts and let me know what else I should be listening to.
Words by Theo Specone
Additional photography credit for the graf banner image by Ruben
D.KAOS Graffiti piece by Sire and Sena