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Few rappers get more out of Twitter than Kane Mayfield, who combines the usual self-promotion with well-measured personal openness and a general tone of intellectual curiosity. (He’s also delightfully stoopid on a regular basis.) If the Baltimore MC existed only on social media, it would still be a net gain for society. Dude actually does make music, too, but until now it’s been a track here and an EP there. He’s about to hit a whole new level of shrewdness, however, with Rhymes By Kane: Thievery Corporation, which involves exactly what you might think: He raps over beats borrowed from the D.C. dance-music group. It’s out July 24 on Mania Music Group, and executive-produced by that label’s owners, Dwayne Lawson and Brandon Lackey.
Lyrically the project is a potent and compelling survey of various ills (economic injustice, addiction, other people’s bad rapping), and its deployment of Thievery grooves is totally respectful to the music (“Vampires” and “Beautiful Drug” are among the sampled tracks) while subtly suggesting that every downtempo groove is just a mood in search of an MC. I asked Kane via e-mail whether the project was out of love or convenience. His answer:
I am a big fan of their work, and it’s my way of showing appreciation to a group that has inspired me. The last time they came to Baltimore I was down at Pier Six with my hoody on, standing on a chair, singing “Marching The Hate Machines Into The Sun” at top volume. Figured there was a better way to show love then scaring their fans with my big black-guy-ness, LOL. All jokes aside, what we did was take songs from all across their catalog, and attempted to do them justice.