I’m just gonna put this out there, and you can do with it whatever you want—k-os is the best all-around hip-hop musician you’ve never heard of.

kos2Okay, I thought that was going to come off as this huge, bold statement, but it’s reading a little vanilla bean. I don’t mean it to. In terms of artists who legitimately care about the poetry of rap as well as the legitimacy of the music, few do it better than k-os. He seems to have a perfect grasp on how to walk the tightrope between true, gritty, hip-hop culture and catchy, marketable hip-pop. Usually, we have to choose one or the other. It’s Black Eyed Peas or Mos Def, Eminem or Talib Kweli. Why should we have to choose? Why can’t we just have hip-hop music that does everything?

Well, we can, I guess. And when I say everything, I mean everything. In his music, k-os dabbles in funk, rock, pop, reggae, and any other genre he can get his hands on. Sometimes he raps, and sometimes he sings. He plays the guitar, writes all his own music, and produces a ton of it, too. There aren’t enough musicians like him in today’s industry, sadly, which is why I’m taking the time to make sure you know who, exactly, he is.

In 2004, his “Joyful Rebellion” album really put him on the map with hits like “B-Boy Stance” and the invariably catchy “Crabbuckit.” Between that album and its 2006 follow-up, “Atlantis,” k-os sold over two million records in Canada (his home country) alone. 2009’s “Yes” wasn’t quite as successful commercially, but it’s still a hell of a record, with hot tracks like “4,3,2,1” and “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman.”

For the hip-hop fan looking for a taste of literally everything, take a sip of k-os and tell me honestly you don’t like the flavor. He might not be somebody TMZ follows around with their Flip cameras, but his stuff is more than good enough for regular airtime on your iPod. Then, it’s quite possible he’ll become the best all-around hip-hop musician you have heard of, and I’ll tell you I told you so.

About the Author

Joel Brigham writes about stuff. It’s pretty much all he cares about. Stuff like music and more music. But he mostly cares about music. And also music.

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