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Kyle Burkett exceeds expectations with debut album

The intro brings you in with intent. Kyle Burkett is intent on overcoming his personal demons and “Sober” is brutally honest in just 4 lines. When paired with the first full length song on the album it becomes more obvious that it also serves as an subtle undertone for the entire album. “Save The Rest” is both a confession of trials and a declaration of accomplishments Kyle Burkett has been through and his decision to do things on his own terms is stated perfectly with the lyric “I know I’m grown so I do not need y'all, you got the best advice but I won’t call” and it rolls into the following track, “Never Switch” which delivers up a promise to remain consistent. The hook speaks to a universal message “I just wanna be young and rich” but the verses speak of personal struggle dealing with family issues many artists would avoid. That’s a great setup to one of the most painful songs on the album that highlights the personal effects those aforementioned struggles have had on him.

The climb back up feels perfectly timed when “Hold On” feat Tyler Elmore hits next. When he says “lost my heart to a no one” you feel like you’ve been there with him through that hardship and you feel invested in his journey and might find yourself rooting for him a bit more than you expected when he follows that up with “been patient for so long” and quite possibly singing loudly along with him all the way through to the end of maybe the best track on the album. The pull back down to the hard truth on “Miserable at Best” hits harder because you just feel like Kyle Burkett has almost become reserved to a life of pain. The realization hits you harder on “Fake” when the first line says “Fake friends, fake love” the full picture becomes a little clearer. This isn’t just relationship woes and the problems that stem from them, it’s about everything that deceives you in life and bringing Reno on this track shows that he hasn’t become jaded by any of it. The topic of “You Weren’t There” expands again on the previous track by confessing truths and promising accountability for those fakes who didn’t support him. “Patient” is easy to listen to and has vocal cadences that could elevate it to breakout song on the album. “Ten Toes Down” is the last song on the album and also being the first single, it had a lot to accomplish. It can’t be the best song or the album will be a let down. It can’t be a deep emotional track best listened to alone. It can’t be too hype or it won’t have lasting power. It avoids all the pitfalls and hits the right notes for a first single and having it appear as the last song gives you incentive to listen to all the tracks along the way.

The production on this album is tremendous and could’ve easily overshadowed the topics and content if it had not been for Kyle Burkett’s honesty and vulnerability in his song writing. The instrumentals all feel cohesive and don’t ever make a song feel out of place.

The track arrangement is also a highlight as the album rises when it should and falls accordingly. This gives the entire project an emotional arc that a lot of artists struggle to accomplish with even one song. There are no flashy features or big names added to try and grab some cheap attention. The only features are those of Kyle Burkett’s childhood friends, Tyler Elmore & Reno (the former introducing the latter to Kyle Burkett), and add to the personal feel on this album. If anyone has any complaints it might be the fact that it’s not traditional hip-hop or the auto-tune/pitch correction isn’t your sound but the album never claims to be a lyrical exhibition akin to ILLMATIC from Nas or even an R&B centric 808s & Heartbreak from Kanye West. 1992 isn’t bound by a definition of genre. Certain tracks make you feel like they would play easily next to Lil Skies or Trippie Redd (”Never Switch”, “Miserable at Best”) and other tracks could be right at home on Warped Tour (”My Thoughts”, “Fake”) while some feel like undiscovered pop gems. (”Save The Rest”, “Hold On”, “Patient”) Kyle Burkett is an artist and an artist doesn’t like to be labeled and he does a great job of finding his own lane amongst his many inspirations on this album.

Lyrics: 3.5/5 Production: 4.5/5 Topics: 5/5 Beats: 4/5 Originality: 4.5/5

Overall: 4.5/5

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