Atlantis: Hymns for Disco | Virgin
By FRANKLIN SOULTS  |  February 20, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
In American hip-hop, nice guys don’t just finish last — they’re lucky to leave the starting gate. So, fine, this multi-talented, hard-working Toronto rapper nabbed the International Album of the Year trophy at the 2003 Source Awards for his Astralwerks debut, Exit; and his 2004 follow-up, Joyful Noise, went “double platinum” (just not anywhere certified by the RIAA). In hip-hop’s nation of birth, however, the former Kheaven Brereton lives up to his stage name — pronounced “Chaos” — only in small rock clubs that book occasional dates for also-ran alt-rappers. Yet on this third album, K-OS acts as if he couldn’t care less about American hip-hop’s strictures. This major-label debut lives up to its Hymns for Disco subtitle in its relentlessly upbeat spirit — the giddy sound of a pop star finding his stride. Bouncing from light reggae riddims to skanky rock guitar hooks to quick-tripping hip-hop to old-school soul ballads, its confident tour of Diaspora-based international pop bounces out of the gate. It’s still too lightweight to win any hip-hop race, but at least you’ll want to add K-OS’s name to your mental checklist as you peruse those small-rock-club listings.
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