1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – a really terrible rap record


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear
#81: Okay(K) – Today (2022)

MATT KELLY checks out a recent rap album and after intense and bewildering sessions, pronounces dead in the water terrible.

Rappers aren’t known for being humble. Whether it’s Big Daddy Kane, Notorious BIG or Ghostface Killah, sometimes just the name alone lets you know of their presence. But if I see someone I’ve never heard of called Lord Lyrics Supreme, I’m going to at least suspect the possibility that this is bravado and they’re average. So when I see someone called “Okay” I assume they’re being facetiously humble and playing with the convention of the self-aggrandizing name. Turns out I’m totally wrong and Okay(K) is a typical self-aggrandizing braggadocious name because Okay(K) would have to massively improve before the name was accurate.

I’m reminded of Daryle Stephen Ackerman’s Attention To Detail, a previous album on this list which suggested that Ackerman could maybe write a semi-decent song but he could not perform it to save his life. We have a similar issue here in that Okay(K)’s beats are reasonable – not amazing but a competent batch of bedroom hip-pop though it tends to be rather quiet and lacking impact – but my god his vocals. They’re *awful*.


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Laugh-out-loud moments such as whatever the hell the noise is that he makes at the beginning of ‘A Minor Li’ or him apparently singing with a kazoo down his throat at the conclusion of the title track completely derail the album.

The *hilarious* multi-tracked Okays tunelessly droning and squeaking the finale of ‘Party In The USA’ get me every time. His sexy time party tracks like ‘Move Your Hips’ don’t have a chance with him singing like a goat having a panic attack.

And good grief, when gets on the piano for big meaningful ballad finale ‘Wow’ and croaks lines like “God have patience… Am I the greatest… All these sounds that I make may be loud but god I hope you’re proud of me… Don’t assume I’m insane”, you’ve got the perfect material for a Mystery Science Theatre 3000-like riffing session.

And that’s not even mentioning that this track has weird sexual porn-like noises playing under his vocals. Yes really. And then ends with an incredibly hokey speech about how COVID made us all a big family and understand each other and I really applaud the speaker for getting through it without vomiting once, but maybe they edited it.

But there are so many odd touches on the record like the way he suddenly spits out “I’M NOT FUCKING PLAYING WITH YOU!” during the relaxed, beatless ‘Brilliance Beyond The Adams’ and couplets such as

“Bye Felicia Bye Felicia, please
One day I will meet Alicia Keys”

It’s such a baffling mess. There’s chillout material, flashes of aggravation and macking, flickers of Christian rap, sincere singer-writer-type elements, and attempts at up-tempo party material, but instead of being impressively diverse through these bold strides, the meek production and charisma-free voice make everything sound like timid steps. The album shuffles a little bit in every direction and as a result, ends up going nowhere. Puzzling and terrible.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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