It’s been a good few years now since we’ve heard a vocally-led project from New Jersey producer Killer Kane (his Lost in Translation EP is almost three years old at this point) and the short but incredibly sweet Open Casket is all the more appreciated for it.
My anticipations for this tape were at an all time high after seeing the guest list, and I can confidently say that every single artist came through and then some. Soulless co-stars Barry Marrow, Krow, Norf Side Shae and SeKwence all turn in excellent contributions, as do close associates like Aasir, Lord Juco, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon and Sleep Sinatra. Kane plays to each rapper’s strengths with his production but the project never concedes to any specific sound and instead pulls each verse into the Open Casket’s labyrinthine sonics. The various film samples, which are worked into this album more fluidly than they ever have been in the producer’s discography, enhance the bristling, noirish atmosphere.
Clocking in at a mere seventeen minutes, Open Casket’s length is ideal for a project of this kind, keeping the rapping fresh on each track while tying the production together with recognisable sounds that are soulful and gritty alike. Barry’s track ‘Sympathy’ is a perfect choice for an intro as it’s a funkier, more animated piece than much of the album, reminding listeners that the duo’s collaborative discography remains unparalleled right out the gate. Closer ‘Silver Lining’ is primarily a display of rapping strength by SeKwence, who sounds no less incredible than he did the last time the duo collaborated on the rapper’s 2020 album Lake Water. The appearances of artists that Kane has less established relationships with are appreciated too, Aasir kills his appearance on ‘In the Background’ in the same pensive way that he’s been slaying beats all year and Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon is easily the album’s most flagrant rapper on single ‘Talkin’ Legacy With My Main Bitch Who Paid’.
Kane is one of the hardest-working producers in his lane and it’s incredibly satisfying to see a project like this finally come to fruition. Truly, Open Casket is one of the most impressive displays of sonic mastery that I’ve heard all year, and fans of the Souless roster and affiliates will not want to miss this one by any means.
Listen to the project in full here.
Follow Kane on Twitter here.
– Chris (@108mics)