K. Sparks: Urban Couture – Album Review by Tony Hanes, DA DOME
In all my years listening to Hip Hop I’ve always found comfort in discovering slept on talent. I must admit, K. Sparks was not on my radar. Yes, I almost feel ashamed because this guys is a very dope MC. K. Sparks is one of those rare and gifted MC’s that has an incredible flow (several), dope voice, passion, versatility in his subject matter and an impeccable ear for beats. One might ask why isn’t he more famous by now being that he’s released music for over a decade. Well, in this microwave society it’s cool observing an artist who has taken time to perfect the craft of rhyming. Being an impressive artist takes preparation and of course skills. After several impressive projects released in the past, his latest opus Urban Couture will surely increase his fan base even more.
After a few intense spins, Urban Couture has marinated deep into my consciousness. The album starts with the incredible track “Flipside.” The mood, tone and stage are set perfectly for the story of K. Sparks. The open verse starts with the words “It’s like Magic when I flow” and I was immediately sucked into the rhyme and amazing jazz influenced production. The horns take the production of this track to the next level. It has a Pete Rock feel and that’s pretty good company. K. Sparks gives us a vision of Urban Life on this track providing listeners with a front tour of New York. “Don’t get it twisted, I’m gifted, the best you’ve never seen” is a line that stuck with me because I'm new to his artistry. Tracks such as “Blue Nostalgia”, “Pen Griffey”, and “Strip 4 Me” flow perfectly in sequence after “Flipside.” An early standout on Urban Couture is “Strip 4 Me.” K. Sparks deeply states “My Momma’s death …it made me realize that I need to live.” Every album has “That Song” and this might be the one.
As the story of Urban Couture continues through my speakers, “Make America Fake Again” is a sign of the times. This track is like Spoken Word (Poetry) and vividly details Black Life in America. This is a poetic moment on the project. K. Sparks talks about the Black Community and confidently states, “We are the bravehearted”. K. Sparks discusses Religion, Stock Market and of course our obsession with Jordan Sneakers. The track ends with Bill O’Reilly and Fox News talking about the disintegration of the Black Family, as if Systematic Racism didn’t create conditions, but I digress. Another smooth track is “Feeling Away” and it’s more of a transition tune that leads listeners into the title track “Urban Couture.” On the title track “Urban Couture”, K. Sparks shows his skillful wordplay over one of my favorite beats on the album. The production is simple with a piano-type vibe that allows K. Sparks to lyrically exercise. K. Sparks confidently recites “Anything’s possible baby girl, look at the President.”…. I agree.
The final three tracks give Urban Couture the perfect ending. As I stated earlier, the sequencing of songs on this album is actually flawless. Even when you shuffle the album, the songs still fit. There are no tracks on the album that feel out of place. “Greatness Is Complicated” follows the title track seamlessly and quickly became a personal favorite. To me the tracks talks about the pressure of becoming great. K. Sparks takes us down memory lane and the sacrifice of trying to elevate his skills while his mother was becoming ill. MC’s that aren’t afraid to be vulnerable will always sustain dedicated fans. This is why Tupac, DMX, Eminem and even Joe Budden are respected. Listening to their songs give you an open door into their homes. I feel that K. Sparks accomplishes this on Urban Couture. After the very solid “Summer In September”, the album ends with “Sunken Place/Juneteenth.” This is Hip Hop Jazz at its finest and K. Sparks kicks knowledge. K. Sparks educated and entertained on Urban Couture. This is possibly my favorite Hip Hop album of 2017 thus far. On October 15th his core fans will be elated as K. Sparks is nothing short of amazing lyrically and Es-K sharing the production, has managed to create something special. If you love hip hop, please tune in to K. Sparks life journey with Urban Couture. K. Sparks has surely made his borough of Queens proud with this thought provoking piece of art.
My Verdict: Urban Couture is Straight Fire!!!
Check out the album and his other work at https://www.kdotsparks.com/
Urban Couture Track-List
Blue Notalgia (feat. Stephanie Heaghney)
Strip 4 Me
Da Homie E
Make America Fake Again (feat. Nation)
Greatness Is Complicated/U Say (feat. Amelia Wilcox)
Happily Never After
Summer In September (feat. Stephanie Heaghney)
Check out the dope track "Strip 4 Me"... Dope beats and rhymes..