Rappers are known for being bold and confident. That fearlessness and self-assurance is quite present in Krizz Kaliko [click to read]. Why else would he title his sophomore album Genius? Fans of Tech N9ne [click to read] have seen Krizz on tour as Tech‘s hype man and partner. Others may not have heard of him, but with Genius, he intends to change all of that.             

He starts off Genius with the fierce “Chip On My Shoulder.” Using multi-syllable rhyme patterns, he ferociously flows through the sample laden track. More of this can be found on “Genius” and “Dead Wrong.” His fast-paced delivery is a breath of fresh air, only pausing for a guest appearance or his own singing. But in the era where rappers who shouldn’t be singing are crooning their hearts away, Krizz mostly succeeds with it. “Misunderstood,” “Bipolar” and “Choir Boy” are perfect examples of this. Able to switch up more than his delivery, Krizz actually speaks on an array of topics, from childhood angst (“Misunderstood”) and dreams of a better life (“Getcha Life Right”) to love in different ways (“Love You 2 Death” and “Misunderstood). He even delves into comedic sexual innuendo filled tracks (“Butt Naked Fun”and “She’ll Do”) to add some humor in the mix. Guests E-40 [click to read] (“Doe Doe”) and Tech N9ne (on five songs) lend their vocals to support Krizz along with a few others including Skatterman and Snug Brim on “Getcha Life Right.”

The ability to be versatile is always good when you have a twenty-track album. Fortunately, Krizz flexes this at times. On the production side, he is assisted with different sounds. He can go Hyphy on his E-40 pairing (“Doe Doe”) and jump to the Reggae-inspired “Hum Drum.” He can have quirky upbeat instrumentals like the James Bond-theme sounding “Misunderstood” or the piano-laced “Bipolar.” He also chooses harder percussion to match his fast-paced rapping (“Chip On My Shoulder” and “Dead Wrong”) and is able to slow it down for (“Butt Naked Fun”). Though at times his instrumental backing sounds like imitation of much more expensive creations like the Timbaland-inspired “So High” or the Dre-influenced “Be Right Back.”    

Wary of fans knocking his work as Tech‘s Hype man, he announces, “I’ve been a sidekick. Now, I’m taking over.” It’s important to note that he does a good job of distinguishing himself from the pack by dropping some creative tracks. Willing to expose his weaknesses and vulnerabilities while maintaining a chip on his shoulder and rocking with confidence shows that he can stand alone. Still, with a 20 track album, there are bound to be some falls like the weak “Back Pack” and the -out-of-place “The Chemical.” Strange Music fans will be pleased to know that while Kaliko‘s second album may not be the work of a Genius, it definitely deserves a listen.