Thumbnail: Owen Richards
Main portrait: Benjamin Macintosh
Produced by Illinois’ Spectacular Diagnositics and released on the illustrious Lex Records, Have A Word is the new Kid Acne album. Already introduced to the world in the form of an exhibition on the site of Sheffield’s Park Hill flats, the album deepens his relationship with cult US hip hop outfit New Kingdom with guests Nosaj and Sebash, plus a group reunion on the album’s closer. Juga-Naut and Juice Aleem also grace the album along with additional production from Scotty Hard.
Kid Acne took some time out from his ridiculously busy schedule to break down the first five tracks for Bonafide. The album’s out today, go and get it here on vinyl and digital.
Crest Of A Wave (feat. Nosaj)
This is one of the first tracks Rob (Spectacular Diagnostics) and I recorded together. It remained high up on the playlist throughout the whole process so it felt like a no brainer to open the album with it.
I initially wrote a straight 32 bar verse, but ended up chopping it in half and used it as two 16s instead. The hook is actually what the next line would have been – leading into another 32 bar verse, but I never got that far. Instead I repeated the line for the chorus, which seemed to work.
I could hear Nosaj‘s voice saying the words for some reason, so I asked him to jump on the track and he smashed it – adding all the extra ad-libs in the verses too. He happened to be in England earlier this year, so we shot a video for it one Sunday afternoon. Shout out Tom Sykes on the edit. Came out super nice.
Mount Owen Claw
Another early track and one of the few uptempo outings we’ve done. I love the beat on this one and was keen to get a fast track in the album early doors.
I’d been reading about the Mount Owen Claw online somewhere, which is apparently the 3,000 year old mummified remains of a prehistoric Moa bird found in New Zealand.
I decided to mash up the reference with a nod to the 1970’s folk-horror movie Blood On Satan’s Claw. Not sure why, but it made sense at the time.
Possibly the closest we’ll get to a Wu-Tang-esque style beat. One of my favourite tracks from the album. Rob went to town on this one for sure. We mixed this with Dean Honer who build all the extra stuff into the hook and as a result, made the track even stronger.
Kind of a budget version of Beastie Boys‘ Intergalactic, but why not? When that track came out in 1998 I was working in a pine factory, sanding furniture in the holidays to pay off my student overdraft. Our mate was the foreman and every time it came on the radio he’d yell to the YTS to turn it up so we could all have a dance break. Good times.
Another favourite from the LP. This sat without an actual beat for a long time and the plan was to rhyme over just the samples and nothing else.
Eventually, Rob added the drums and I found the dialogue sample for the start and the whole thing came together real nice. The lyrics in the second verse ended up leaning towards my Stabby Women / female warrior characters for one reason or another.
I’ve been painting these characters for maybe 15 years now, so we referenced that in the video, which is shot by Figment (Bad Taste Records).
He also shot the album cover and made a crazy video installation for the Have A Word exhibition in September.
It Is What It Is (feat. Juice Aleem)
I’ve been a fan of Juice Aleem since the inaugural Big Dada release way back when. I must have met him in Birmingham in the mid to late 90s and followed his music career ever since.
The inaugural Big Dada release, featuring Juice Aleem
Their New Flesh album, Understanding (2002) is one of the greatest, most forward thinking records to have come out of the UK scene, ever – absolutely groundbreaking, way ahead of its time and criminally underrated.
Juice was also one of the voices for my Zebra Face animation back in 2012 and also blessed the Mongrels project a few years ago. It’s been great working with him again and this is definitely a stand out track for me.