Hockaday & Kazi Jone are a hip hop group out of Delawar, now working in New Jersey. They recently released their first album Bane of Fear (full album below). This album demonstrates that the duo is extremely versatile and isn’t afraid to experiment while they are honing-in on their sound.
I see Hockaday’s strength to be the spoken-word hip hop exemplified in the first three tracks Broken Glass, Set Backs, and Nevermind. Even if Hockaday is still finding his style, he has found his voice, and he has something to say. You will find meaningful lyrics throughout the album:
“No matter what your religion is, I don’t care. We’ve all got to come together for this to work, so we can all feel, so we can all hurt, meaning we can all heal, we can see the dirt. How bout we make the most of this beautiful earth.”
It’s clear when Hockaday is in his element: smooth cadence, all bars over a soulful beat. Kazi Jones spins soulful beats throughout the album, with everything from funk (in Love at First Sight) to soul-infused hip hop (in The Broken Glass Theory).
Importantly (to me), Hockaday’s lyrics are humble and ring true in most of the album. Those of you who read my posts regularly, or know me, know that I pay special attention to how lyricists portray women and relationships in hip hop. Hockaday did not disappoint. He unabashedly discusses the importance of family for strengthening communities:
“One time, where are all my good parents at? I ain’t ashamed to have a strong black mother that taught me to respect women with the skill to raise children.”
He also goes against the grain of the mainstream hip hop ideology that women are simply for sex:
“I’m in the fast lane and should I happen to crash, remember me for my heart and nevermind my past, I was in a situation making the decision fast. Chicks used to dis me because I had low cash, but I wanted something more than the ass, I was tryin’ to build a relationship that would last”
Each time I listened to the album I caught a new message. My one criticism is when the duo ventured into harder “posturing” hip hop in Death Before Dishonor and Highlight Real. These two songs didn’t seem to flow as natural as the others, and they were deviations from the rest of the album, both lyrically and stylistically. Nevertheless, this album highlights the potential of Hockaday and Kazi Jones. Check it out and follow them on SoundCloud and Social media: