Inspiration comes from many places. We all have our own heroes. We’ve seen those motivational memes on social media. We’ve found ourselves watching motivational speeches on YouTube. Most of us have those certain tracks we listen to when we’re on that grind; ready to put in work. Multitalented artist, Kadesh Flow basically takes this concept and lays down six of those specific tracks to get you moving towards success.
I stumbled upon Kadesh Flow in 2015 when he dropped the Hunter X Hunter inspired track, “All Day” with fellow NPC Collective member, Richie Branson. Since then he has been killing the game on the down low as both hip hop and jazz’s best kept secret. He’s been consistently dropping solo records, one of which we covered just a year ago: Otaku Moods. Along with his solo efforts he has been lyrically murdering it and playing trombone with the legendary Marcus Lewis Big Band. With the release of his most recent effort, “Motivated”, Desh is showing that he isn’t slowing down any time soon. Quite the opposite even.
“Motivated is a different type of project. It’s mainly filled with bangers to inspire.” says the artist just moments before an excellent set at MAGFest 2020. After further assessment, he’s not lying. The anime references littered throughout the artist’s usual efforts take a backseat as Kadesh Flow takes us through the hard fought journey of being a successful artist that does things his own way.
The record kicks off with the infectious “Accolades”. How many artists do you know will drop the mic after a minute and twenty-two seconds of fire to play a short, sultry trombone solo? That’s what makes this man so unique. Not just his choices to carry this out, but his ability to produce such raw emotion that shines through both his lyrical deliver and his instrumentation. This jazz fusion track is the perfect intro and set up for the full record.
From there we head to track 2, “Do What I Said”. This is Desh’s letter to the people around him, friends and foes. He interweaves the two until they become one, “they don’t want you to succeed, they say chill instead.” We’ve all experienced people like that in our lives. This is the song where we see the rapper’s anger come out. He fires off at those around him wanting to hang out, but disappearing when he’s in need. Which leads me to the transitions between tracks on this record.
Instrumentally each track stands on its own, but the lyrical content flows from one song to the next. We go into track 3, “Succeed”, where Kadesh takes another shot: “they take credit for being around and not deserving too”. However, we see a movement throughout the song as we switch from discussing the negative people around him to his own personal journey from earlier days. We view his strive to improve his own situation and, for lack of a better term, succeed! We also hear our first feature from this track, Andrew the Only, who’s verse is heavy bar driven in the best way.
My transition theory proves true in track 4, “It’s Working Out” as we hear personal reflections not only of Desh’s early success but again, of his time in school. A line that spoke to me on a deeper level being, “smart kid shaming is the old news, now I play the concerts that they go to.” Being a teacher, I try my best to drive this lesson home every single day. Desh summed up that lesson in a single verse on what is definitely my favorite cut on the record.
The 5th track is the single, “Now” featuring They Call Me Sauce. The title is appropriate as we move from the artist’s reflection on early life to his take on his current status. In this song he makes it clear that he is going to continue moving as he strives for further success. Granted, this journey is not easy as he reflects on evading bills, the pressure of getting better, and his significant other’s fear of him being a bit obsessed with his work. None of this, however, seems to hold the rapper back. They Call Me Sauce’s verse is much like Andrew the Only’s verse from earlier in the record. The guest’s focus feels less on the storytelling that dominates the record, and more on braggadocious bars. This is not a complaint, I feel as though they balance one another out on the track.
The final track is the appropriately named, “Close”. With another perfect transition, Kadesh Flow begins to reflect on his current struggles. That being said, unlike the last track where he uses these lyrics to provide a balance for his successes, he somberly gives an introspective look to the world around him. In verse one, he tells a tale of neglected family and money problems. This leads into a look into a situation similar to the one we were in when I caught up with the KCMO artist. He describes slinging merch while checking emails, preparing for a show, and the overall atmosphere around him. He’s not quite reached the success he wants to, but he’s close.
As a cohesive project, this is my favorite Kadesh Flow record to date. Each track bleeds into the next to the point where I would suggest listening from start to finish without interruption. The artist continues to grow and I can’t wait to see the unique direction he takes on the next project. His jazz hip hop fusion is addicting and I get chills just thinking about his live show. If you ever get a chance to see Desh live, take advantage of it. He’s a phenomenal artist and a fantastic human being. Support in anyway you can, and be sure to check out, “Motivated”.
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.”