A Positive Light
Reviewed by: Matt Kelchner
A Positive Light has been a long work in progress for local emcee Kuf Knotz. From moving back and forth between Philadelphia and New York multiple times as well as a number of bad breakups with lovers, friends and bandmates, it was a ride that had it’s fair share of ups and downs. It also took Kuf Knotz on a journey that wound up with numerous trips across the Atlantic to finish recording in Europe. Despite it all, A Positive Light came out as just that, a beacon of hope and happiness. The album is bursting with messages of not just treating yourself right mentally, but reflecting that to others around you as well. In a genre that has become so diluted by the same songs discussing the same topics, A Positive Light is a much needed breath of fresh air.
It does not even take a full listen of the new release to tell that it’s of a different beast. Kuf Knotz is not shy in adding elements of reggae, dub, soul and other worldly influences to create his own unique blend of hip hop. At times A Positive Light kicks like any of the great tracks from A Tribe Called Quest. Then in a blink of an eye, thick, round bass lines come bouncing along and is met with offbeat, choppy guitar to send the track into the world of reggae. All the while, Kuf Knotz’s careful selection of guest vocalists add additional layers to the piece. This kind of genre mashing works for much of the album, yet there are times where you can find yourself feeling a bit lost as a song goes a bit too far off into the deep end.
There is no doubt that musically speaking, the level of creativity shines bright on A Positive Light. Yet the main focus should be on the uplifting themes spread out throughout the record. As you work your way through, you come across tracks centered around topics like pacifism, feminism and self-righteousness. The meanings within the songs are deep and powerful, and Kuf Knotz does little to hide that fact. It’s taking the PMA attitude and giving it a new spin that reaches just as far outward as it does inward. For an album that was shrouded in trouble and negativity, it came to be just the right light at the end of the tunnel.