How refreshing it is to hear a NYC born and bred emcee with skills to pay the bills. The birthplace of the art form seems to produce a lot of copycats these days. When I was asked to review this mixtape I have to admit I had no idea who this dude was. Shame on me. K. Sparks is a talented emcee from the southside of Queens, an area that produced such greats as A Tribe Called Quest, Organized Konfusion, and many other notables. K. Sparks is relatively new to the CHH side of things but based on his bio, his resume is quite lengthy.
After getting critical acclaim in hip hop circles he forsook the pursuit of mainstream success. To put it in his words “I had everything material, drove nice cars, expensive jewelry, nice house, but still felt something was missing. I learned things can never make a person happy, only living a fulfilling life with purpose can do that”
K. Sparks Latest effort can be downloaded at djbooth.net here and features a little something for everybody. The mixtape is called Read Between The lines, as Mr Sparks puts it “Everyday we are fed negative images and content through mass media on a daily basis. We live in a day and age where people have to be intuitive enough to read between the lines of content we are fed and think for themselves. Challenge yourself to not merely think outside the box, but to never get in the box at all.” The mixtape starts off strong with the track Sunset. No time is wasted on intros, K. Sparks hits hard lyrically from the first word. “So it starts/it’s like the old days/ step on the scene and here the glass break/ used to be concerned about the cash weight…” Vocally, K.Sparks’ slightly high pitched vocal tone and cadence sounds a little like an east coast Trip Lee, with better breath control, at times, but still totally unique.
He holds his own on many different styled beats on this project. From the boom bap-esque track ‘Time For That” which could easily be on a Beatnuts album or early Common album, to more pop friendly tracks like “Achievement” K. Sparks adjusts his rhymes well to accommodate fans of either style. The title track Read Between the Lines sounds like it could have been produced by S1, and the track Wonder years, could be akin to some of ATCQ’s material on their last album. Regardless your preference. i believe this is mixtape to be enjoyed by all. I am looking forward to what K. Sparks has to offer in the future. If this mixtape is any indication, I see bright days ahead for him musically.
Catergorical Ratings Breakdown:
Lyrics/ Delivery: 4/5
Beat Selection/ Production: 3.5/5
Concept/ Arrangement: 3/5