album Review: Sincerely by K.O.
She is K.O. This isn’t only a social media handle. It’s also the perfect phrase that describes the artist from Enid Oklahoma who has been nothing short of a knockout. From her style to, to her music, to her street marketing. Since her first record, she’s truly kept the game on the ropes while she has dropped hit after hit. All the while parrying from the snakes and the fake drama that artists use nowadays for clout. And it's with her latest release Sincerely that K.O. is truly showing the world how being genuine is enough to take you to the top of the game. And do it without compromising yourself and most importantly, your art. Let’s check out Sincerely from K.O.!
“The only time that Ima clench is to embrace my gifts”
The album starts with “IDK Noting”. “The only time that Ima clench is to embrace my gifts”. Which clench is also a boxing term for embracing your defender so that they can’t throw any blows. But K.O.'s defence is also her offense. The track uses a sped-up sample from The Spinners 1973 hit “Could It Be I'm Falling In Love”. K.O. shows a lot of Intrapersonal intelligence, she has experienced a lot but is still smart enough to know that she’s still learning, which is a continual process. OR as the Socrates quote goes “The only true wisdom is in knowing that you know nothing.” There is a lot in this track, just in the first 2 minutes, so it is surprising that the beat actually switches to somewhat of a whole another song. A song within a song. It’s a lot slower than the first but K.O. still shines and shows just how talented she is as she sings. “I’ve been stressing for a long time.”
As we get into track 2 which is “Black Cinderella” we are instantly thrown into a vibe. It feels like that nighttime driving, swangin. But when K.O. comes in she lets it be known that she's here. She mashes on the gas as she spits bar-after-bar. Toward the end of the track there's no doubt of the Houston inspiration as the backing vocals take on this Screwed up persona. It takes us on a ride to then another beat, and a more elevated state as she sings “None of it matters when I’m this high”. It’s like she has Angels backing her. But don’t think you can’t get that heavenly flow from her either. She got Goddess bars. The track overall is about that feeling or maybe the feeling of being numb. Both beats convey two different drugs, lean and weed, but mixed together the feeling they create is a totally different high.
Jumping in to Track 3. Immediately as the chorus begins for “Like That” the back of your mind goes to Kodak Black’s “Like Dat”, which is one of the songs that helped propel him to stardom. K.O. put her own spin on the track. The heavy 808 kick, breaks up the listener's thoughts clearing a path for K.O. 's bars. She walks on the track. It reminds the game that not only does she have bars but also K.O. ain’t afraid to flex too. The track seems to follow this developing formula of; the first song, skit, then a completely different second song. In this case, the second track still has the noticeable 808 kick, but the track is a slower tempo and smooth feel. It’s almost like she realized she needed to slow it down for a little cause life has been going that crazy. It’s like she reminds you that it’s ok to take your time. We got a whole album. I like how she gives the beat time to breathe at the end and lets it fade out. There's also a video to go along with the song, check out the video to “Like That” below:
Track 4 “BirthRight” is such a braddagious track. It showcases her lyrical ability. From the flow, she uses, to her versatility in the way that she switches up her flow to something completely different. Just listen to cadence in her voice and how she hopscotches from bar-to-bar. She murders the beat like she’s coming to get everything that’s owed to her. By the time you get to the second part, it’s like asking forgiveness because she didn’t ask for permission on the first track. The first part was the funeral, and the second part is the wake.
“ This nigga insane. He want me to be Coretta, When I’m really Gucci Mane.“
If you really want to hear a song that is knocking. Then the beat on track 5, “Too Often” is one you gotta listen to. It’s a track where you can hear K.O stretching her words and having a more animated flow. It makes the lines hit that much harder. One of my favorite lines come from this track, “This nigga insane. He want me to be Coretta, When I’m really Gucci Mane.” I had to hit Pusha T "Yuugh" when I heard that line. The track is definitely a radio hit. The beat, to the bars, to the chorus. This is that one. When the 2nd half of the song plays it settles down as K.O. sings about her insecurities and everything that takes away from her confidence, but that all stops when she switches up and starts rapping. It’s like she reminds herself that she’s the Illest Bitch Alive. “Lost niggas that I loved, that’s alive. I read the eulogies.” Made me hit another Pusha T "Yuugh".
“Special” is the name of track 6 and it’s about talking to that special someone in your life and letting them know how special they are. Because oftentimes we do get caught up in our day-to-day and forget about this. The song just feels good. Plus, it’s backed by some clever bars, “And I been prayin’ throwin’ pennies in the wishin’ well, but if this is not where you wanna be then ima wish you well”. Jay-z voice "Wishin' Well, I wish you well.. Damn. K.O. Did! Then the track switches to a more somber feel of K.O rapping about a relationship that went bad and turned for the worst. Thinking of the times you put them as a priority. But she ain’t gonna cry about it. She lets the guitar do it for her. As ends the track talks about a few things she gonna do to get over them.
"Chillin Wit No Makeup On" is the title to track 7 and is also that one line everyone remembers from Drake’s debut single "Best I Ever Had". And just like the title, the song is about expressing how you feel. I would’ve actually expected this slower track to be on the backside of another track if we're using the formula we’ve been using throughout the project, but it’s actually a nice switch-up. It’s no wonder why this song has been released as a single with the only difference being that the single version is only the first part of the track. So, when listening to the album you notice the skit and the 2nd half of the track when the beat switches to that drunken text type of vibe. And you get some dope lines, one in particular was so dope, she even had repeat it twice. “Love ain’t for sale, but I just might let you rent it.” The song still continues that chill vibe of just quality time and laying up. Take a listen for yourself.
Track 8 “Low/Cabaret” is the only track on the album that gives you an indication in the title that there are 2 parts to this song. The first song on the track "Low" sounds very performance arts dancer-ish. Aka. This sounds like it’s for them scrippas. She chants repeatedly “Keep it from the low from me”, like to say protect my heart by not telling me what you doing out here in the streets. Ignorance is bliss. But also this is that sneaky link anthem. The song sounds like you in one of them Houston strip clubs and all your worries are behind you. It's just you, the dancers, and the liquor that keeps talking to you in a screwed-up tone. I love how she incorporates that Houston this sound into her music. It gives so much character to the track. By the time the first track ends you realize there is no voicemail. So when the second track kicks in the track speeds up as K.O. sings in an autotuned voice that creates this rounding repetitive chorus. You thought we was with the scrippas before. This is the VIP anthem. And just like some people's pockets the song ends shortly making it seem more or less an interlude to the 3rd song. You heard it right 3 songs in one track, and this one is a slower pace, it creates a balancing act as her voice tightrope’s each melody balancing with an accompanying accosted guitar. Her voice sweeps you away. It just leaves you thinking. Damn. What can’t K.O. do?
“Love songs about love”.
Take em to church. That’s your immediate thought when “Love Songs” comes on. The actual song sounds like she’s searching. Never finding love. But still searching. With each bar building on top of the last lost love and painting a picture of the deep heartbreak. It’s a hell of a journey. The second part of the song is K.O. seems to be about running toward the things that aren’t good for you while running away from the things that you know you have to do. You know the hard things. This song again shows her songwriting abilities she goes from singing into rapping so effortlessly. She speaking gospel on these tracks, “I just wanna wake up to like no stress, And like great sex with no latex.”
“I like niggas built like a gods, I like bitches by the twos”
“Slide”. Now this is something you can dance to. It has this bounce to it but is smooth enough that you can get on the dance floor and just feel the beat and get lost in K.O.’s voice. She even gives us a couple of bars. This one, in particular, caught my ear, “I like niggas built like gods, I like bitches by the twos”. The second part of the track plays a familiar r&b sample I can’t put my finger on it, but I found myself humming it. But back to the song. This song is K.O. calling out to God. It’s a really deeply personal song. Almost is if she's asking the question. Does God hear us when we pray? I believe so.
The last track on the album is "Calabasas". When you make it this far in the album you realize the journey you’ve been on. This happens to be the shortest song on the album. I think the title Calabasas suggests this luxurious place in the hills of California where the whole team is shining. But throughout the song I think it’s K.O. realizing that she’s still very much on the way to Calabasas but it might not be the picture she dreamed it would be. Meaning maybe not all the people you thought was gonna be there will be there. But it’s the journey of getting there that’s really what’s worth it. Because even if you fall short you still might end up in Beverly Hills.
So, there you have it. Sincerely. By K.O. The album is a beautiful piece of art. Just looking at some of the facts. It’s an album with 11 tracks, but this is a little deceptive seeing that the album could be a double disk where you could literally take a knife and cut each track in half and literally have a second album. This means that the album could’ve easily been 22 tracks. What’s most surprising about this is that there are no features. It’s K.O. featuring K.O. meaning that she uses her voice in so many ways on this album. From singing, to rapping, to switching up flows, to autotune. You get to see her artistry in this album. We also saw that It's an album that had this recurring formula of 1st part, a then skit, then second part a completely different beat. It just kept the listener always guessing what could happen next, a skit, a song, or the beat riding out. Like I said, this is art. And lastly, you would think that in the world of streaming, an album whose average song lasts over 4 mins could not happen, but then again there’s nothing about K.O. that’s average. So go listen to Sincerly by K.O. and let us know your thoughts.
Make sure to follow K.O. on her social media below:
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