I’m simultaneously super drawn to this album, because it’s Kazakh hip-hop from a talented performer with undoubtedly unique flavor, and a little discouraged with it, because Jah Khalib is trying too hard to be rough rapping about bitches and dirty sex like it’s 1994. It’s 2018, and what can be said about inter-gender relations after Run the Jewels’ “he want this clit in his mouth all day”? Still, because Jah is so good with words, rhymes, and music, and his texts often go into the territory of not belonging, of underprivileged survival in the oil-rich metropolis of Almaty, I am in love. Moreover, some of his tracks, like “Medina”, take on the form of a Central Asian fable: and the heart-wrecking beauty of this mythology is so absolutely incomparable to anything else I’ve ever heard, and so well-done, that I blissfully wish I had a car to go and blast this.
There’s also an insanely badass video for Medina where Genghiz Khan meets Game of Thrones, and be still my internationally-inclined heart who always wished John Snow didn’t look like a bearded white teenager.
E.G.O. by Jah Khalib
Released in 2018 by SBA Production