In the early 1990s, you could find Brownsville MC Ka rhyming with Natural Elements, the underground East Coast group led by producer Charlemagne. Like too many other talented outfits, label drama kept NE from receiving the shine they deserved, and eventually Ka left the group to pursue a solo career.
On his own, Ka's single-minded vision and auteur approach set him apart from other NYC MCs. While some receive shine for incorporating the styles of other cities, Ka is fiercely New York. Like Louie CK is doing with his show Louie, Ka is documenting the city via his songs and self-directed music videos through a focused lens and with similarly bracing results. The songs from his latest LP, Grief Pedigree, capture the coldness of Brownsville and the other parts of Brooklyn that New York magazine won't be mining for "quirky" bars and shops.
His music videos are simple and stark: Ka rapping in front of a housing project at three o'clock in the morning, the only sign of life for blocks his concise hand movements and his words echoing between the buildings.
Over the past year, Ka has released roughly a video a month, covering each of the tracks on Grief Pedigree. On Friday he released the final video, for "Iron Age," featuring Roc Marciano. We spoke with Ka about the making of his previous videos. You can check out the new video for "Iron Age" below.
To see Ka live, come out this Thursday, October 18, as Complex presents Judgement Night at The House of Vans in Brooklyn.
For more info on Ka, peep BrownsvilleKa.com