Cosmic Karma album review
Chyle MC is quite a hard man to get your head round, so let’s start with the facts. He’s from Atlanta. He sings, he raps, he croons and he does all of these with style and panache. He’s strongly influenced by P-Funk (as you might have guessed by the name of the label his debut record is released on) an infatuation that leads to the space/soul/funk/hip-hop sound of his music. So far, so ATLiens, you might think. Well, yes and no.
Yes, because on tracks like the bumping “It’s Okay”, with its swinging horns, bouncing rhymes and tight drums, he could certainly lay claim to a lead role in Dungeon Family: The Next Generation. But Chyle is forging his own path on Cosmic Karma. Bravely enough for a debut, it’s bookended by tracks featuring another (female) vocalist and he attacks an impressively wide spectrum of styles and moods over the course of the LP.
Generally, it’s a lot of fun, as Chyle’s a singer with charm to burn. But as you’d expect from an album about karma (and cosmic karma at that), it’s far from being a simple party record. “Leave” is an emotionally charged tale of regret and remorse told over a heartbreakingly simple beat. It’s the flipside to one of the tracks that precedes it, the string drenched “Stay The Night,” a song that’s got babymaking music written all over it.
On “Remember Me” Chyle brings the funk, while on “Look Beyond” he’s firmly on his cosmic soul tip. The album is bound together with his magnificent, soulful voice and probing, often deceptively simple lyrics. In his biography, Chyle cites a few of his contemporary influences as Jamiroquai, Erykah Badu and A Tribe Called Quest. Jamiroquai and Badu give him his sonic template and otherworldly ethos, while the Tribe lend Chyle his switched-on, tight lyrics. It’s a potent combination. Cosmic Karma is the sound of a talented musician reaching for the stars. Chyle doesn’t always hit them, but boy, is he on his way. If he stays on this trajectory, we can expect big things from Chyle.