I’ve been grateful to come across artists with great talent, and I think I’ve been presented yet another one recently. Hidden gems are everywhere, and it truly does help to be curious an open-minded so that people are able to get their fair chance to have their moment. You never know where it could go, and I’m glad that I could (possibly) be the start to something.
Ralf Martinez aka K-Oz, 26, born and raised in Passaic, New Jersey, is an unsigned emcee. K-oz, who is also one of millions of Tourette’s Syndrome sufferers, found hip hop at a young age and has found it to be therapeutic for him and his situation.
Undercard is a word used more so in Boxing as the match before the main event. They’re the lead-up to the fight people actually went out to the local sports bars, and placed their bets to see. The undercard can either be a scrub, or a real gem. They’re the fighters that can be the diamond in the rough, or simply just rough. The poster for this mixtape gave emphasis that this is a hidden gem in the making one day. I didn’t have any expectations, because it was from an unknown, but I was surprised to what I heard when I started playing.
Welcome To The Dungeon introduced a confidence that boxers usually walk with when they come out of the tunnel and walk towards the ring. Vocally, the first person I felt like he sounded like was an old Canibus. The flow, the vocals and the aggressive nature definitely caught me off guard, but that’s what boxers are trained to do. Keeping with the boxing theme (consistency is key) Undisputed continued the rugged nature of K-Oz’s flow but spoke about what it is to being an artist that I feel a lot of people seem to forget – you must have confidence in this game if you’re going to last, because rapping about the irrelevant things can only take you so far. We’ve been pitted into a generation where that essence of ‘true hip hop’ (whatever that means to you) has faded, yet many people are striving to get back. They’re fighting back to grasp the sound the once loved.
The beat selection of this mixtape was on point throughout, and it was evident on No Other, because the lyrical flow and the beat, it meshed so well that you’re inclined to twist your face and bob your head repeatedly. The love of the game is what’s being professed here, and K-Oz’s ability to ride the beats is impressive and he’s one of the better rappers I’ve heard in a while, especially this year. On and On is the symbolic fists of fury that is about to commence in the metaphorical ring of the rap game. His lash against the industry (as he is an independent) is a tale many of us have heard before, but with his delivery, he keeps it down to earth and real to the point where you can relate to what’s being said. i commend him for that. Times have definitely changed in the hip hop game, and that includes the sound – one that’s not preferred by many. So what do they always say when you don’t like something – make something better.
Still Alive is a true story as K-Oz broke down how his life has been battling with his Tourette’s and his father’s absence from his life. It’s hard dealing with a disorder, and for many it’s even harder to talk about, so my respect went up because of the fact that he was open and real with his emotions to talk about how he was dealing with it. This song broke away from the traditional bass & snare tracks, and went into a different creative approach. This is a positive track that is uplifting for those who are going through anything, not necessarily having a disorder.
K-Oz displayed his lyrical talent as far as a dope flow and catchy metaphors. He was consistent throughout by telling the listener constantly that he was the next up, and I admire his hunger on the mic (Demolition was another stand out track). The mixtape was definitely a surprise to me because he has a strong presence on every track. Although the subjects got redundant at times, that didn’t diminish the fact that he can flow and spit some bars when he has to. You have to respect talent when you hear it, and this is a guy that can definitely find success as time goes on and he progresses to further perfect his craft. The Undercard is definitely a suitable title for this mixtape because especially in this day in age, the main fighters are usually ones that are sometimes better, but also the ones beneath can also flex their muscles and prove to be future contenders. This is a good mixtape to build from, and to make tweaks to improve. I wish much success for K-Oz, and definitely give this mixtape a listen because there’s potential in it. Enjoy, but for now
That’s My Word & It STiXX