The Minnesota hip-hop collective strikes again. Just as their annual Doomtree Blowout concert series comes to a conclusion, their latest group album No Kings drops. It’s not easy to discern where this album falls in their catalogue since most active members have been churning out albums for years now, although not of particular importance to this album itself. With the whole crew in the studio, No Kings features Dessa, Sims, Mike Mitlan, Lazerbeak, Cecil Otter, P.O.S, Paper Tiger, and featuring Channy Caselle.
Opening with a thick bass guitar, “No Way” opens No Kings with ample drums and bass lines fit for Sims to take to mic with ferocity. Mike Mictlan chimes in later with the chorus, displaying the proficiency of Midwestern rhymes. “Bolt Cutter” is a dark, synth and guitar heavy track in which Sims, Dessa, and Mike Mitlan describe a twisted love story, “My girl gave me a bolt cutter/We love to break in/We claim all the spaces they forgot they had taken”. “Bangerang” is yet another rap anthem Lazerbeak and Cecil Otter do a top notch job producing. The Doomtree MCs and producers have such an unprecedented synergy on every track, every rhyme, and every rap.
A true hybrid of the Doomtree collective, No Kings is heavyweight, hit after hit, bountiful hip-hop gold. There is without a doubt something here for everyone. Close listeners are rewarded by hearing influences ranging from punk rock to dance music. Screw East coast. Forget West coast (I’m going to be excommunicated for writing that). Midwestern rap is where it’s at.