The Grammy-nominated hip-hop duo, Kinetics and One Love, recently released their sophomore album, “You Are Not Alone.” The duo includes Kinetics as the emcee and One Love as the producer. They definitely have not taken the most typical path among hip-hop artists, though. Kinetics and One Love have actually gained a great deal of notoriety for penning songs for other artists, including Eminem, Sean Kingston, B.o.B and Nicki Minaj.
After being signed as songwriters by Warner Music Group, Kinetics and One Love wrote the chorus to the 2010 platinum-selling song, “Airplanes,” featuring B.o.B and Paramore’s Hayley Williams. To no surprise, Kinetics and One Love do not disappoint with their sophomore release, “You Are Not Alone.” Two hours after the release, the album reached number 10 on the iTunes hip-hop chart. The album breaks the typical hip-hop boundaries, providing commentary on issues within society, as well as a look into the duo’s outlook on the world.
“You Could Save Us All” comes in at track three, and provides a social commentary on the treatment of the American Indian. Kinetics references the fact that the “white man” took land from the American Indians.
“It was taken from Natives sent to the reservations/ not the ones with casinos, the ones in our education,” Kinetics rapped. He goes on to provide more commentary, referencing the Trail of Tears as he rapped: “Cause we killed off an entire race efficiently/ and then we reserved them a single chapter in history.” Kinetics does not stop with commentary on the treatment of American Indians. He also references a corrupt pharmaceutical industry that may partially be to blame for the misuse of drugs.
“The pharmaceutical industry is continuously causing overdoses/ your doctor made a bogus ADHD diagnosis/ it’s like you tell your physician a bad day/ suddenly you are depressed, anorexic, and you have AIDS,” Kinetics rapped. While referencing these problems within society, Kinetics also provides a sense of hope, but in a unique way. In the chorus Kinetics sings, “But I’m not here to hold your hand/ I’m just here to help you understand/ if you wanted to, you could save us all.”
The “you” within this line is directed toward everyone, and Kinetics seems to be calling listeners to action, regarding issues within their own life. “Sign Language” is a heartfelt song that tells a story of tragic love. Kinetics recites the story of Billy, who has a crush on Amy, a girl in his class. Billy fights to let her know, but communication was limited by Amy’s deaf condition. After Billy missed several classes, Amy sends him a letter confessing her feelings for him.
Kinetics reveals the tragic ending in the lyrics: “Flipping on the TV to a tragic story on the news/ It was a picture of your average teen, all it said was/ Local teen suicidal with a knife to his wrists/ At the scene where he died was a letter never read.” This song provides a very detailed, powerful insight on suicide. One Love provides a beat with a unique string section, along with a very strong piano melody. “Will You Be Remembered” ends the album. One Love drops a beat that seems to be composed from reggae, pop and folk influences.
The song presents a question: will one be remembered or forgotten? Kinetics rapped toward the end of the song, “Pangaea didn’t last forever/ So, I’m going to rewind time/ and bring the continents back together.” This line wraps up Kinetics’ album concept in a nutshell. Although he provides a lot of criticism on society, he seems to only want to make the world better with his words, as well as to bring everyone in the world together. “You Are Not Alone” is a socially conscious album that provides insight and commentary on suicide, the pharmaceutical industry, politics and many other topics. However, Kinetics and One Love can still lighten the mood. “Still Dreamin’” is a look into Kinetics’ lyrical skill, and proves that Kinetics can hit a beat without being consumed with the world’s problems. Not only are they releasing their own music, but they also are signed to a label to write songs for other artist. So, as one might imagine, the duo’s schedule is full of late nights. Kinetics rapped about those late nights in the lyrics: “Hustle deep, I sleep like an insomniac/ I ain’t trying to be 29 and drive a Pontiac.”
“In My Own World” also sheds some light on the duo as artists, as well as their potential to make songs about their own lifestyle, rather than problems concerning society’s issues. One Love spins a beat that will most likely make any listener sway back and forth in rhythm with the song. The beat builds, coinciding with Kinetics mood and words. “I got a cup full of hemlock, a mouth full of lies/ A Penthouse suite where I hang my disguise/ I’m in my own world/ I got a sleeve full of tricks, and a bullet in the chamber/ Couch full of women, and a room full of strangers/ I’m in my own world,” Kinetics sang during the hook.
Here Kinetics describes his nights surrounded by women and strangers, most likely venting from the stress created by his career and fame. Although he has all the trappings of fame, he still provides limited criticism on the lifestyle that most hip-hop artist take advantage of and use as their image. Kinetics and One Love have released a very unique album that breaks through typical conventions in hip-hop.
“You Are Not Alone” is filled with meaningful music and lyrics that make listeners question their own place within the album, and outside of it.