Zero Gravity 2 (Mixtape)
King Los maintains his high-octane flows, but an inability to consistently craft songs and choose quality production hinders "Zero Gravity 2."
Over the past few years, King Los has gained a certain amount of acclaim for his raw freestyling ability. Kendrick Lamar declared Los had the best “Control” response, and Sway leaped out of his chair in excitement and then gave a speech about true emcees after Los dominated his “5 Fingers of Death” freestyle challenge on “Sway in the Morning.” After recently stepping away from his record deal with Bad Boy Records, Los (now a free agent) released the second installment of Zero Gravity after four years.
Although Los is a great freestyle rhymer, who delivers multiple different rhyme cadences and flow patterns effortlessly, he has yet to translate that talent into crafting quality, concept-driven songs, and this weakness is apparent on Zero Gravity II.
“Remember my story about the genius and the dummy / Genius was getting smarter, dummy was getting money/ The dummy kept getting dumber, the genius was good at math / Calculated some numbers, and now I’m back on that ass / And calculating the calculus, catastrophic collisions / While calibrating to kill ‘em with cataclysmic conditions,” King Los raps on “Only Nigga Left.” It’s just the most recent example that the Baltimore spitter has no problem piecing verses together. The aforementioned “Only Nigga Left” represents his strong lyricism, but the song falls apart when it flows into an unimpressive hook over a generic Trap-inspired beat. In many ways, this the challenge many emcees best known for on-the-spot freestyles face when tasked with crafting coherent bodies of work.
“I’m still learning how to make songs,” said Los in an exclusive interview with HipHopDX, as he confronted his personal challenge. He adds, “No one taught me how to make music… I had three minutes of straight bars, no hooks, no nothing. I didn’t understand the concept of what a song meant.”
In addition to this, most of the songs hint at a depth that Los can never really articulate with his lyrics, despite how well the actual raps are constructed. The mixtape starts out with “Creator,” which assumingly sets up a story about Los’ uncle—a big time drug dealer who has recently been incarcerated. But as the mixtape progresses, it takes a turn when the skits change from focusing on his uncle to himself.
Los offers generic talk about “struggle,” but behind the broad generalizations, there are no details to make you connect with his content or even him as an artist. This is evident in his track, “All On Me,” where he rhymes about growing up on the block, but coming and getting rich; therefore having the responsibility of taking care of his close ones. Yet, he is just barely brushing the surface because he does not go in depth about these trials and tribulations, so the music is not relatable.
Sonically, Zero Gravity 2 consists of a few gems (“Bar Mitzvah”), but Los generally bounces between a generic (“Trap House”) to a flat out bad (“Everybody Ain’t Kings”) selection of beats. Production stands out as one of greatest flaws on the project, as most of the tracks followed a simplistic and generic 808-kick drumbeat along layered synthesizers. Los also included short-lived memes and and overused pop culture catch phrases, such as the familiar Twitter hashtag #ButYouPlayin’, Beyonce’s “Woke Up Like This,” (“Woke Up Like This”) and a more recent favorite, “or nah.” It seems as though Los is trying to fit a commercialized persona that’s not necessary because of his raw talent.
With better beat selection, increased attention to song construction and more time in the industry for musical and personal growth, hopefully in due time all of this natural talent will manifest itself into an artist who can make songs.