Adam Kammerling, more commonly known in hip-hop circles as Adam The Rapper, doesn’t really fit a pre-determined stylistic box. He isn’t an overtly “conscious” emcee, a comedy rapper or an avant-garde obsessive; he just plays himself – an unpretentious Brighton-bred, London-based emcee entirely unbound by a need to seek fame and recognition through his artistic exploits.
In the process of aspiring to the plain and simple, he’s in some ways adopted a kind of frontier mentality: a certain freedom to mix influences and depart from both hip-hop and spoken-word traditions through his cross-cultural merging of the two art forms. Far from being an ego-driven genre contrarian, Adam ensconces the listener into his easily accessible, organic sound without the need of didacticism or forced abstraction.
His latest release, The Letters EP, is a fresh, delectably simple and original mutation which successfully marries spoken-word and rap sensibilities. Soul-drenched, sample-heavy beats suspend a medley of serenely self-possessed musings on everyday life and the human condition. Chock-full of heady and happy reflection, the EP never aims to be anything but a laid-back and comfortably sedated affair, whilst providing just enough nuggets of wisdom and insight to pique the listener’s curiosity. In thrall to the notion that art can never remain too stagnant, the most important factor in this release is not just to please the listener, but to also give them something to think about.
Characteristically scruffy and off-kilter, Adam is a fringe-dweller who’s contented to stay grounded in the face of stresses generated in the course of modern living. Without talking witlessly and in mindless platitudes about the day-to-day struggle we all face, Adam prefers to gently massage his own wisdom into the roots of this EP through a sound that is unmistakably of the old-school. Never ranting or rallying, though occasionally betraying his weariness with the current state of the hip-hop (a seemingly inescapable trope of underground hip-hop), Adam prefers, for the most part, to wax lyrical about his abiding love of books, a decent cupper, and a simple life divested of high-octane distractions.
Both Adam and beatmaker Cuth evidently share a similar worldview and enjoy an unerring intuition on this EP. A hand-crafted duo functioning in a smooth, symbiotic arrangement, they’ve taken a traditional format and tried to do something interesting with it — their collaboration being a distilled wisdom gained through careful thought and meditation, merry mishaps and a willingness to drift through life’s challenges with a clear and level-head.
Devoid of pretence, the EP’s sound is a perfect antidote to listeners weary of hearing rappers possessed of huge egos and an obscene fetishism of money and materialism. Carrying a self-conscious hippie image that thankfully never congeals into shtick, Adam shines as a light of quiet transcendence in the UK rap game, gracefully tracing his steps towards spiritual self-fulfilment.
Stripped-down and unelaborate, the EP is solid proof that good music is very often, if not most often, simple music that coaxes traditional elements and occasional innovative flourishes into magical submission.
Download The Letters EP @ http://adamandcuth.bandcamp.com