A mere three weeks after dropping DA HIGHED UP TAPE, SeKwence is back with another project. A sequel to 2017’s BUDGET CUTS with mega-producer Killer Kane, this tape continues the duo’s incredible chemistry with even more satisfying results. ‘Choppin’ Block’ kicks things off wonderfully, Sek skewers the murky beat with his barbed lyrics: ‘Man I swear to god they never feel me. I know these pills is gonna take me out, another fifth hit me in the kidney’. Kane’s atmospheric beat wails and groans, a meticulous production that makes for an epic intro to arguably the rapper’s tightest album this year.
‘AllTalk’ is a change of pace, a song choc-full of effects that revels in Kane’s mesmerising approach to production, mixing and mastering. The style that Sek’s partner in crime unleashes on Budget Cuts 2 is similar to his powerful, emotionally potent and incredibly diverse work on KILL BARRY 2, but this is a far more bleak, foggy and downtrodden release.
Guest rapper Krow changes the tone of the record entirely on ‘Bread Truck’, sneering: ‘It’s not a game n****, motherfuck a joystick. Hit the speed dial and have my killers at your door quick’. Krow’s flow is tough as hell, he holds his own against Sek’s rasp with ease. The production feels wonderfully retro, you can feel the soul as much as you can the grit.
That’s the key here, really. Kane isn’t a minimalist at all, his beats are thick, bassy and, on cuts like single ’92rainman’, punctuated by muggy synth work. Another extremely personal song, ‘rainman’ recalls motherly advice, denounces snitching and proclaims the rapper to be a prophet. The way I see it, this project definitely opens up conversation for Sek to join the greats of vocally rugged but lyrically flagrant hip hop. ‘Black Lung’ is the best example of the former, the rapper’s delivery sounding appropriately pained. ‘Acid tabs and Led Zeppelin, bags of gas I burn sevens in every session’ he murmurs. Sek’s hedonism is in full force on this tape, yet he also raps like he has something left to prove (he doesn’t).
The way that Budget Cuts 2 concludes on a sombre note with ‘Resurrection’ is a move we’ve seen Sek pull off many times in 2018, but none of his closers are quite this affecting. ‘And that’s a black hole, all them habits steady fucking up my cash flow’. This is definitely the rappers most soul-gazing project to date, and a third brilliant full length that, unlike FULGORE and TSIF, is proof that Sek’s most emotionally adventurous, ambitious work is alongside a single producer, in this case the inimitable Kane.