For anyone who’s been paying attention to the ascent of a particular contingent of SaveMoney, the phrase “still alive” has become a calling card. The phrase has been tossed around since the days of Leather Corduroys, and in the years since that sentiment has been underlined repeatedly, this time with the release of KAMI and Smoko Ono’s collaborative full-length, Very Slight. Yes, the guys are still alive, they’ve got new music, and they’ve been hitting the gym.
Very Slight definitely had some anticipation before it’s release and if it weren’t for the whirlwind that is even the end of Chicago summers, this would have been up. “Superstar Moves” and “Reboot” featuring Joey Purp and Chance The Rapper raised high expectations for the project as a whole and with additional features from Purp once again on “Beware” and Valee on “A Bit,” the pair round out a healthy release that sees the pair each finding their own creative path to follow after playing alongside others for years. Somewhat of a departure from what we got from KAMI on Just Like The Movies, the production here feels less tailored and more an opportunity for Smoko to go crazy and explore differing soundscapes while KAMI expertly rides through.
Compared to earlier releases, Very Slight sees things grown larger for both artists. Oversized drums and bass accentuate KAMI’s incessant flows and underline the pair’s new swollen physique. They command the listener from start to stop on the seven song offering. No word on whether Kanye had a say on the song count, but this one stands up against a slew of releases from contempiraries this year that have upped the bar for the artists that have evolved from the Chicago Renaissance. NoName, Joey, Saba and more have all dropped classics this year, with a Mick Jenkins release on the horizon. Even with that much local talent releasing their best on a weekly basis, KAMI and Smoko prove they are very much a part of that conversation with Very Slight.