Kottonmouth Kings have always been energetic. It's that enthusiastic element that has become infectious for their dedicated supporters. Their long run (15 years) in the music industry is a testament to their ability to hone in on their fan base’s love for their contagious hooks and rhymes over aggressive instrumentals. Their latest, Mile High, is no different, in that it maintains that enthusiasm and continues to pound. While that will be a healthy dose of KMK for devotees, it may also be a drawback for those wanting more from the group.
Lyrically, you get what you might expect. Still, it’s difficult not to knock the redundancy in topical choice. Their main theme, marijuana, is front and center almost always, to the point of monotony. Also, it’s difficult not to knock the simplicity of their lyrics, even if they’re not about weed (sample: “Uno, dos, forget about tres / This is all a big set up / Catch up to this pace”). The flows remain animated but one can’t disregard the cringe factor of rhymes like, “You got beef, son? I’m a vegetarian/ It’s a dog’s life. See a veterinarian” or “I ain’t Soulja Boy/ But I’m a soldier, boy/ And when the truth comes out / I’ma say ‘I told ya, boy’.” The rhymes may be bland compared to their delivery and fervor but it’s not easy to overlook such underwhelming lyrics.
The Kottonmouth Kings have traditionally made their name through a potent sound. This album packs that punch. “Pound for Pound” offers a heavy hitter with haunting bell tolls and piano keys. “Hold It In” brings forth some Dubstep kicks and “Get Out the Way” ensures the Punk sound is still alive in the KMK discography (it also blends in more Dubstep here). Some will enjoy the diversity of hard-hitting efforts while others may see a lack of cohesion.
Still, for longtime supporters, none of the negatives listed here will be a deterrent. The aggressive instrumentals are going to be welcome and the lyrics - though one-dimensional much of the time - will not be knocked much. After all, it should be expected here. The group’s name is Kottonmouth Kings. The album title is Mile High. It’s even written in some of the song titles (i.e. “Roll Us a Joint,” “Green Dreams (Mile High),” and “High Haters”). How can one not expect that? Still, just because it’s expected doesn’t mean it’s excellent. With Mile High, KMK show they are sticking to what’s expected with enthusiasm, even if it isn’t executed exceptionally well.