Krimelife Ca$$ writes his testimony to stardom with "Otw2theFuneral"

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Written by Kolin Miller

Dark, drugged, and decrepit, Krimelife Ca$$ stumbles around amid eerie production and ambient mixing in this interesting project. Labeled as a “single” the project itself is actually three separate tracks. Elements between each track stay consistent for the most part, however, there are distinguishing shifts in some prevalent elements which contribute to the staccato-like nature of transitions in between.

Prior to this project, I lived my entire life completely unaware of who Krimelife Ca$$ is, ignorant to the fact that yes, there was someone out there who embodied the darker sides of drug-culture. Otw2theFuneral is an interesting project for the same reasons that would piss off an out-of-touch suburban father. Lyrically, Ca$$ seems fully aware he is at his best when he keeps the substance surface level, dipping in and out of the occasional realm of introspection between brazen braggadocio and bodacious hyperbole.

“My funeral is coming soon and yours is coming too,” chants Ka$$ to start the first track “Need My Meds.” Within 25 seconds of starting the project, you already have a good idea of what the rest of the three-track so-called “single” holds thematically. As mentioned before, the continuity and juxtaposing transitions between tracks allows the listener to be taken on a short journey. Maybe Ca$$ really is trying to take us to the funeral he prophetically announces is inevitably approaching; maybe each line about reckless drug abuse is another mile marker counting down the arrival to the said funeral.

“Need My Meds” has an excellent outro which leads beautifully into the next track, “Black Heart Ballad,” a slower track which features vocals which seem even more faded and washed out than in the previous track – yes it’s possible, and yes it’s just as good as it sounds. In “Black Heart Ballad,” Ca$$ takes a sidestep to his confrontational persona introduced in the first track and dwells on himself, chanting “swear to god I’m in too deep,” over and over until you can’t help but join in, eyes closed, arms up, fists balled, vibing along to these resonating lines of hype-sadness.

There are many things to be said about this project, and many things to be said about the artist behind it; and personally I like to believe I have what genre-elitists like to call an “open mind.” That being said, this project is definitely not for everybody. What I found pleasing and exciting to listen to, many find off-putting, boring, or repetitive. The very same elements which make Otw2theFuneral distinctively itself, I hear many of my peers and fellow hip-hop-heads lament about as crimes against the genre. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the glorification of drug culture in hip-hop, especially in today’s world amidst the largest opiate crisis of the United State’s youth population. Just last year we lost over 65,000 Americans to opiates, so to all the new-age rappers out there, I apologize if I don’t turn up as enthusiastically when you praise popping enough pills to put a baby elephant into a coma, I am not with it.

Now I do understand, and to be honest completely endorse, using the environment as a means of self-expression – telling it like it is around you as an artist is no crime in my eyes. If drug culture happens to be a major element in your environment and you build your message around that, I have no qualms. We are all human and make mistakes – sometimes willfully so – so mentioning drug use or even talking only about drug use isn’t a deal breaker for me. What does this have to do with Otw2theFuneral? Use yo context clues! Though the project features some elements of drug culture exaltation, Krimelife Ca$$ walks a fine line between seemingly praising the culture, and then recognizing the damage and deficit his decisions have had on his life. Bouncing from self-reflection about being in “too deep,” to ominous admittance of drug abuse, Ca$$ distinguishes himself from some of his constituents who may just be praising drug culture to cash in on the fad – though he does it in a less obvious way than some will enjoy.

Listen to the project here.