I get thousands of emails a week. Emails from every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a demo in his pocket who is promoting a new dance craze themed song, Ladies Night themed mix tape, some Crunk Hot Oil Party, or an indie band that reunited and wants the world to know. Sometimes it’d hard not just to delete everything because since it’s enception, Flea Market Funk has always been about records, record culture, digging for these gems, and the lifestyle that is called Hip Hop. Not Hip Hop in the sense of poppin’ champagne, but the Eric B. and Rakim “Microphone Fiend” Hip Hop. The J.Dilla greatest of all time Hip Hop. The dusty 45’s being played at all 45 nights, or the producers who are sampling them to make beats or some of the best music from the Golden Age of Hip Hop. That being said, sometimes it’s hard for me to weed out what I get, and unfortunately, I get a lot of stuff I can’t use. No disrespect to people who are hustling and doing their thing. There is a place for everyone at some blog or website in this world I can assure you of that. However, what I got in my Inbox this morning, was something right up FMF’s alley. It was something I had been waiting for, but didn’t know it. A project that combines records, sampling, beatmaking, and Hip Hop. Step into the world of 14KT and the 14 Killa Tape.
Welcome to the Motor City, City of Trees, America’s Comeback City, or simply the D. As a Soul Head this city gave us the music of Motown and their catalog to sample, not to mention Hank Ballard among others. As a Beat Head, this city gave us Dilla and a DJ like HouseShoes. Let’s no forget to give a huge honorable mention to rappers like Black Milk, Royce Da 5’9″, Guilty Simpson, King Gordy and the little known kid called Em. Fast forward: Dilla is gone (but not forgotten), is Em even Hip Hop anymore?, and the underground Hip Hop and beats of guys like Royce, Black Milk and others who grind it daily to keep the D’s legacy going still matter. In walks Kendall Tucker aka 14KT, who is holding the torch for Michigan (what up Ypsilanti!) beatmakers and producers high. An original member of AML (Athletic Mic League) 14KT got his start off emceeing, but the demand for beats for the group led him through his parents’ Jazz and Soul collection searching for samples to chop up on a dual tape deck. That’s right I said it, a dual tape deck. This cat is what Flea Market Funk likes. Influenced by Golden Age Hip Hop producers like Pete Rock, Primo, and Dre, while taking elements of the Motown legacy and even going as far as to include Electronic and Techno music (how could you not in the D?) to inspire him. 14KT released The Golden Hour in ’08, which raised eyebrows, and prompted Okayplayer to say: ““this is the sort of striking project that can singlehandedly create an artists following.” No truer words were ever spoken in regards to this artist. In 2009, he released Nowalataz, and went on to say this about it himself: “a project I unofficially had done since 2006. It started when James Yancey aka J Dilla passed that February. To cope with the death of my favorite producer, who I liked to call my unofficial “musical mentor,” I started making ‘donuts’…uncontrollably. I never planned to release any of the material out of respect for Dilla and his craft. I shared some of the music with others, in which they would repeatedly ask me to hear it, so I decided to put a little something together and make it official.“ Combine that effort with opening up for Mayer Hawthorne and the Stones Throw team as a DJ and a spotlight at this past year’s SXSW, plus being the reigning Red Bull Big Tune Beat Battle in Austin’s Champion, and it looks like this lad is already on his way to success. When media outlets come out saying: “The work he puts in on The Golden Hour puts 14KT in the same class as cats like The Neptunes and Timbaland.” and “14KT is straight out of the future. Or at least the future that I hope for.”, you should take this guy seriously.
Short and to the point, Donuts style beats laced throughout this effort keep your attention and head nodding. “Choir Robed Up” bangs with background samples of a choir over hard drums (and is about wearing choir robes as a kid), while “On Ya Mind” I kept looped for 10 minutes while writing this, the drums are hard as fuck. “F What They Say” I could get busy with my wife too, and “The Abominable Snowman”, a dedication to HouseShoes, which completely bangs, are stand outs in this 14 track effort. This whole tape is the kind of stuff I get crazy for here at FMF. It’s absolutely without a doubt what I think of when I think of Hip Hop these days. Not lame autotune, not 8 minute collabos that have 30 rappers on them that suck, but simple, 2 minute (tops) beats that can showcase what a producer, rapper or DJ can do and get your head nodding. These are enjoyable to listen to. I can not wait for the 14KT’s full length due out later this year, if it’s anything like the beats on here, we’re in for a banger. Get at me 14KT, I need to Big Up you. Keep Diggin’!