Columbus rapper King Vada’s been comparing himself to other rappers a lot lately, and what he’s found is that no one else compares.
“To be honest with you … I started to realize I’m the best rapper in the whole world,” Vada said during an interview last week. “Once I realized no one can rap better than me, it didn’t matter what I did. I could change my name, whatever.”
Which is exactly what he did last year when he dropped L.e. for the Uncool in favor of King Vada (the “king” is short for “Knowing I’m Not God,” though he said later that he aims to be the god of hip-hop).
To Vada’s credit, his new full-length, MURDRxFLWR$out Aug. 23, his birthday, proves he’s not all talk. The album’s 13 tracks are focused, well-curated and among his best work yet. They consistently display newfound confidence, sometimes literally (“To be real, I’ve always been good at rap/ It’s so easy I could put my hands behind my back”), but usually in subtle ways.
The record’s most intriguing parts aren’t Vada’s brags;MURDRxFLWR$ is most compelling when the rapper sifts through his struggles (losing his best friend, his mom’s drug addiction, his sobriety, escaping the streets, fake-ass lames) for pieces of spiritual gold (“All I’m trying to say is I am you”).
The album’s hazy and melancholic like many Tumblr and cloud rap albums are, but Vada’s flow and voice find him drifting in and out of his sometimes sing-songy verses, as if rapping comes so easily he might be slightly bored. The beats are reminiscenClams Casinoeven airier, and his voice floats above and through them, chirpy and molasses-paced.
But back to those lofty comparisons Vada’s been making.
The rappernamedroppedeveryone from Tupac to Dilla to the Wu Tang Clan during the interview, andKanye West surfaces a couple of times on MURDRxFLWR$.
“FINI$H,” the album’s third track, includes the refrain, “Imma finish/ my n----, Imma finish,” which is, of course, a reference to West’s infamous interruption of Taylor Swift during the 2009 VMAs, but the song’s mostly bout Vada returning to destroy his competition.
Exhibit B is the album title itself, MURDRxFLWR$, which alludes, in part, to the West song “Big Brother,” and the line, “People never get the flowers while they can still smell ’em.”
“That’s such a crazy line,” Vada said. “People always wait for somebody to be gone before they praise them.”
Earlier this year, Vada promised in an Alive interview that he’d keep hitting people in the face in 2013with a promotional onslaught, first with his Preludes to a Murder EP, which dropped in January, and then, later, with his first full album in three y.
The promotional onslaught didn’t happen as planned, but Vada is OK with that because it helped him weed out his real friends and fans.
With MURDRxFLWR$set for release this week,Vada’s next few months promise more of that promotional onslaught. First there’s the Rock the Bells tour he’s accompanying fellow Blue Collar Gang member (and Maybach Music Group rapper) Stalley on, then there areplans to start his own mini tour of about eight cities. But before all that, of course, there’s the album And he wants you to feel it, to really feel it.
“I don’t know if I told you, but I want people to know I’m the best rapper in the world,” he said at the end of the interview. “If you don’t realize it after listening to this project then I quit.”
He paused. A smile formed.
“I’m really not going to quit, but I do want you to know that. Don’t wait till I die.”
Photo by Ryan Young