Kay Greyson is one of the better lyricists on the come-up in Hip Hop right now. With a penchant for the emotionally resonant, but also well capable of creating a captivating chorus; she’s accumulated a number of achievements at a young age. Recently performing at the prestigious Evolution Emerging festival in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley, and consequently impressing a lot of local industry insiders, the time is ripe for ‘Morning After Music‘, her debut mixtape.
For a while, Kay seemed likely to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Dre, Slaughterhouse and Frank Ocean, in promising the release of ‘Morning After Music’ with no real sign of it becoming a reality. Whilst I joked when stating that it “didn’t exist”, given that its release date started in June and wound up at the very end of August, I certainly wasn’t expecting it quite so soon.
The mixtape is exactly what we’ve come to expect from the Newcastle rapper-singer. The influence of Chance the Rapper and Childish Gambino is inescapable. From the production to the lyrical content, ‘Morning After Music’ is ostentatiously cut from the same cloth as ‘Coloring Book.’ On one hand, Chance is the biggest new artist making the cross over from underground Hip Hop to mainstream right now, and thus there is no better role model in rap. On the other, Chance has gotten to where he is, because he’s taken influence from his idols, but offered his own spin on it.
Imagine a Geordie accent rapping in the vein of Chance the Rapper?
Kay’s use of an American accent is a controversial topic. One that I find myself contesting with, within myself on a regular basis. I understand why she’s using it considering that is has worked so well. Whilst few “authentic” Newcastle MC’s get much shine from non-Hip Hop platforms in the North East, Kay has dominated on all fronts, featuring in magazines, performing at prestigious gigs and much more. One has to question however, if she breaks the glass ceiling and emerges towards national recognition – how will she be received in that spotlight?
I myself have played music from Kay on TheRootMusic Rap Show on countless occasions. I have enjoyed a plethora of her live performances. One of my favourite ever interviews came with Kay, because of her warm, easy going personality. Yet, it’s all so hypocritical. At the same radio station, I cringe whenever I hear Iggy Azalea – a woman who’s whole career has been overshadowed by an asterisk, questioning her authenticity. Whilst I support the blackballing of Iggy Azalea from Hip Hop, how can I support Kay Greyson?
The answer is that beyond the accent, Kay is very talented. She can really rap. She can write. She can perform. That only serves to make ‘Morning After Music’ all the more frustrating. Full of fantastic bars that far supersede many of her peers, it has all the components of cracking project. Remove the politics and ‘Morning After Music’ might just be one of the best releases of 2016. Remember that Hip Hop is built on a foundation of authenticity, and it’s a different story.
I love Kay Greyson as an artist and a person. In the first run through of ‘Morning After Music’, without thinking critically I loved it. The casual music fan will undoubtedly do so too. Unfortunately I can’t help the voice in the back of my head, reminding me that ‘Morning After Music’ forces me to question my own Hip Hop values.
What’s more important, if I enjoy the music or if it conforms to my ideals of Hip Hop?