London based rapper Sha¥ Khushrenada drops his debut mixtape, entitled ‘The Karman Line’, which is available to download for free from his bandcamp page. The project is inspired by Japanese Sci-Fi anime, and features production from Trebor Llams and Toby Kenobi (who both represent the Astronaut Heroics collective).
The cocky, confident delivery present on ’10s’ is cool, and the thumping trap-influenced production compliments the skippy, energetic flow Khushrenada brings on this track. The Trebor Llams produced cut ‘Bronze Helm’ is a standout, with the emphatic, textured soulful sampling providing a nice backdrop to Sha¥’s simple-but effective flows and charismatic, melodic delivery. The funky, glossy ‘The Emergence’ is decent, and it takes a refreshing turn with an off-kilter, sidechained beat and calmly delivered rhymes. The hook, which comes from a vocalist named Jazz, is very average though, and Sha¥ would have done well to make an alteration here as it really lets the track down.
‘Cry’ is a definite standout, with the crisp, classy production, emotive vocal samples and professional performance from Khushrenada. He demonstrates a good storytelling ability on this joint, as well as keeping an introspective direction filled with unique observations, and Sha¥ also delivers his lyrics with clarity and character. The personal themes continue on ‘Winter Mornings’, and it’s no surprise that this is another highlight; Khush spits lyrics openly, touching on relationships with honesty and integrity. The problem with ‘The Karman Line’ is that too many of the tracks that I’ve not mentioned are just lackluster, or have lackluster elements to them; some hooks are weak, and Sha¥’s lyrics and flow can sound amateur too.
This is still well worth checking out though, and Sha¥ Khushrenada is bringing a unique and fresh perspective with a style that is definitely his own. The beats are cloudy and wavey, and the raps aren’t over-complicated, but they’re delivered with heart and charisma. This mixtape is his debut project, so hearing the progression will certain be interesting to assess as he embarks on the next step of his career.
By Sam Bennett