Standout Track: “Grits,” a driving hip-hop track that samples Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together,” and features lyrics by Bowie, Md.–based MC Kaimbr, whose government name is…Al Green. With Kaimbr’s brawny lyrics and producer Kev Brown’s trademark deep bass line, “Grits” avoids sounding like other hip-hop records built around the same snippet.
Musical Motivation: Not surprisingly, the fact that Kaimbr shares a name with soul legend Al Green is what inspired he and Brown to create the track, which appears on the Budget Is Low mixtape and will be part of an entire Al Green meets Al Green album. “I was talking with Kev Brown, and we thought it’d be dope to do a project of all Al Green samples, play off of it,” Kaimbr says. Originally, “Grits” was to be titled “Stirg” to avoid dredging up the famous incident where a spurned loved one decided to hit the Rev. Al with a hot pot of hominy. “We didn’t want to disrespect him,” Kaimbr says. “But Kev said, if we’re gonna do this, let do it.”
Glory To His Name: Many rappers are hesitant to give out their full legal names—not Kaimbr, aka Alexander Green. “I’ve always said it on the records I put out—I thought it was cool to have the name Al Green,” he says. “I think more rappers should use their real names—it’s what your mama named you.”