14KT might be your favorite producer, but you just don’t know it yet. The Ypsilanti, Mich. native has been on the fringe of more (and well deserved) attention for years, something hip-hop heads the world over will tell you in a heartbeat. “Crown” is the first single off his upcoming album Nickel & Dimed and features underground champs Black Milk and MED.
The two veterans share the crisp instrumental with complementary flows and content, reflecting on the days when creating meant more than getting the next girl or flashy necklace. And it was actually Black Milk who inspired the track’s title, as 14KT had previously named it “Crystal Figurines.” But that changed immediately when he heard Black Milk’s almost dead-eyed authoritative line of “Look around everybody tryna blow and hold the crown.” It’s a poignant comment, especially at a time when buzz leads to flash-in-the-pan rappers coming for the throne.
That lyric also sets the tone for a neck-breaker of a track accentuated by a sharp boom-bap drum loop, wavering synthesizers, and fuzzy guitar lines. The “Crown,” in this case, sits firmly atop the head of 14KT, an apostle of J Dilla’s school of beats. It’s a banger, sure, but it’s also meticulously layered, composed, and textured much like the remainder of Nickel & Dimed.
The album is 14KT’s fourth full-length and finds him again combining his love for instrumentals and guest-featured cuts. The first half, Nickel, is purely beat-driven, aside from one track wherein 14KT himself delivers the rhymes. On Dimed, the focus shifts to his guests, who also include Blu, JMSN, and Kokane.
Nickel & Dimed drops Aug. 27 on Mello Music Group.