Nerdcore… a term viewed by some in the hip hop community as almost as dirty as “numetal” is viewed in the rock community. Honestly, this side eye look is unrightfully earned as some of the most talented artists are roped into this genre that is looked down upon. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few artists in this genre that are more interested in fitting as many references as they possibly can into a track rather than writing a genuine, quality song. That being said, I’m here to chat about one of the most talented artists that is often placed into this “nerdcore” genre. I’m talking about none other than emcee and trombone enthusiast, Kadesh Flow.
Desh got his start at just 11 years old where he began playing trombone and rapping within two weeks of one another. This blend jazz/hip hop blend has not only followed him throughout his numerous releases, but also into an unforgettable live show that needs to be seen by all. A member of the NPC Collective (Nerdy People of Color), Kadesh’s lyricism packs a one-two punch of anime/video game references and personal tales of growing up in a culture that is under represented by minorities. He’s had multiple releases since 2012 and I’m going to chat a little bit about his upcoming release, “Otaku Moods”, dropping January 25th.
Starting with the opening track, “Droughts”, you know exactly what you’re getting with this record: a high-energy, full throttle, hip hop smorgasbord. I’ll be honest, on first listen I couldn’t even keep up with Desh as the flow and beat were so infectious I found myself dancing all around the room just letting myself go. When I finally sat down and started the track over it was clear to see what this was, straight fire. Many artists in the hip hop game try to boast this false sense of confidence through braggadocious lyrics about money and fame, Kadesh on the other hand kicks off this EP with a track about his lyrical skills and who he is as a person. Throughout the track he asks, “who’s gonna bring it like me?” and I’ll answer that question just as he did: “Nobody”.
As we move into track two, “Party Thoughts”, we flip into a tale of stress and anxiety. This is probably the song I most identified with during my multiple listens. On this track Desh tells a story I believe many of us are familiar with, that’s the battle between being successful and the multitude of distractions that can get in our way. In this song those distractions come in the form of partying and staying out late, rather than putting in work to be great. It’s about fighting through the excuses your giving yourself and laying it all on the line. The techno-esque beat and singer Jessica Paige really pull things altogether on the hook. Definitely a stand out track.
“Step up in your party like that thing is mine”. This line kicks off track number 3, “Planet Wreck”, Kadesh Flow’s hard-hitting tribute to Dragon Ball Super character, Lord Beerus. Love the track on its own. Desh is back on his catchy, smart, “best in the world” rhymes. That being said, DBZ is not in my wheelhouse at all. I think I’ve maybe seen 3 episodes of various versions of the show (and spinoffs). It’s not an active dislike, I was just never into it at as kid and jumping into it now feels very overwhelming.
At the halfway point of the lengthy EP, Kadesh gets personal again on the 4thtrack, “Pavement” featuring college friend Anna Challacombe. While track two is the one I identify with the most, my favorite track is a tie between this song and “About a Dream”. On “Pavement” Desh tells a personal story about his decision to quit his day job and pursue music full time; the last straw being a break up between him and his then longtime girlfriend. It’s an important story about taking an upsetting situation and flipping it on its head. Take those emotions and pour them out into something great. That’s what he did. He put his “feet to the pavement, running till he can’t anymore”. The song is phenomenal because it’s real.
The script is flipped one more time as we move into “About a Dream”. If “Pavement” is the prologue, this track is present day, middle of the book. Desh has left is day job and is now killing it stage after stage. The track itself sounded fairly familiar when I first heard it. Then it hit me, Kadesh Flow’s crooning throughout the song sounds very similar to fellow KCMO resident, Big Krizz Kaliko. That’s not a bad thing either as the Strange Music signee is one of my favorite artists in the game right now. Throughout this track I couldn’t help but think what a song would be like with both of them on it…MAKE IT HAPPEN!
“Picking Up” featuring Atlas, completes the trilogy of even number tracks on this record that are bout checking excuses at the door and getting yourself in gear for success. On this track Kadesh touches on his thoughts about hanging it up, jealousy of his peers, and his push towards success. Quality track that perfectly transitions to the final “banger” on the album.
It wouldn’t be Kadesh Flow if he didn’t finish the album out with a tribute to one of the coolest anime series out, Parasyte: The Maxim. In the final track, “Headbuster”, Desh compares himself and his wicked rhymes to the parasyte characters in the show. Basically he’s saying that he’s coming for your mind listener! BE READY!
There’s not much more I can say about this release. Kadesh Flow is an incredibly talented artist in multiple facets. Along with this upcoming release, be sure to check out his involvement in one of last year’s top jazz records, “Brass and Boujee” by the Marcus Lewis Big Band. Be sure to check out Kadesh Flow on all social media sites and head to his bandcamp page now to preorder the record.
Obsessed with all things horror, video games, comics and vinyl, Dylan has been surrounded by all things geek culture since birth. Along with writing for Icon Versus Icon he’s also the co-host for the year long Christmas podcast, “Christmas 365”.
“No wimps. No False Metal.”