Kero One, Early Believers (Plug Label)

With Early Believers, it's not hard to tell why Kero One's soul-drenched sound has already caught the attention of

Signature hip-hop soul
With Kero One''s new album, Early Believers, it''s not hard to tell why this DJ/beatsmith/MC''s soul-drenched sound has already caught the attention of superproducer and Black Eyed Peas founding member Kero''s feel-good tracks just have a universal quality without coming off corny.

On the acoustic guitar-tinged “Keep Pushin'',” Kero proclaims, “Tell your neighbors and all the town / I''m bringing hip-hop with a signature sound / I ain''t saying I''m breaking ground.” And he''s exactly right. With his large arsenal of vintage and modern gear (Fender Rhodes 88, MPC 2000XL, ARP String Ensemble), Kero makes hip-hop that''s not incredibly experimental yet it carries a consistently solid “kick-back-and-chill” type of resonance. There aren''t any duds to be found, but “When the Sunshine Comes” featuring British vocalist Ben Westbeech is one of the best representations of the Kero One sound. Here, raspy guest vocals balanced with his smooth raps glide atop a chill arrangement of guitars, bass, keys and drums. Even without pushing limits, songs like these let Kero One successfully welcome listeners into his realm of signature hip-hop soul. [3.5 out of 5 stars]