Philly is known for it’s abrasive and aggressive nature when it comes to hip-hop. With the exception of The Fresh Prince, Philly is notorious for grimy rap: Freeway, Beanie Sigel, State Property, and more recently Meek Mill. While you can make a case for some of these (ok maybe just Freeway) being lyrical, it’s not often you get to hear the lyrical and thought provoking content coming from the City of Brotherly Love. Well you get just that from Joie Kathos (pronounced Joey). Kathos documents the last year of her life on Floaters. She even opens it up by giving us the real reason why it has this title and what it’s about.
With Floaters only being nine tracks in length, it doesn’t leave much room for error. When a project is short like this you have to come with the heat on every track or else the bad will stick out like a sore thumb. Kathos gives us seven solid tracks with an intro and outro explaining everything. She doesn’t want her message to be overlooked especially in an age where our attention spans are smaller than a 30 second Twitter video. Floaters has a socially aware trend as Kathos hits us with real and true bars. The subject matter ranges from the Black Lives Matter movement to her own personal issues. This is evident on the Outlaw produced “Faded”, which has a video that shows plenty of protests against the social injustice of African-Americans from the past year.
Floaters flows effortlessly and is cohesive throughout. The message isn’t diminished and her ear for production to bring these thoughts to life is solid. She even says she’s been searching for the right beats to hop on in “No Streets Peace”, a self produced track. There are lots of keys and drums used on Floaters and it doesn’t feel overproduced. It’s very minimal and bare, as to make you focus more on the lyrics. This project feels like Kathos is venting and not in a bad way. She’s telling you her personal problems and the things she stresses about and to have that come together in this project makes for incredible art. It doesn’t come off as whining or complaining, it comes off as a message to those who aren’t aware. The only downside of Floaters is the mixing as “The Young Kathos Show” doesn’t sound like it’s mixed the same as the other records. As I said earlier, you have to execute almost flawlessly on a smaller project or else things like that will stick out a lot more than they should.
With all of that said, the best song on the project is “Gone”. The Shocker G produced cut is one of the most accurate songs that has been released this year and it’s such a powerful track. We take people for granted while they’re still here and we don’t appreciate them until they’re gone. That’s the premise for “Gone” and it’s an amazing record.
It’s amazing what some bad news can do for someone. On the intro of Floaters Kathos explains that this project stemmed from some bad news she got at the eye doctor one day. It evoked a vision and more so the execution of said vision. Some of your best work comes from being in a sad or depressed mindstate and Kathos used the news to create some of the best work you’ll hear in all of 2015.
4 out of 5