88 Keys has been an household name in hip-hop’s underground since (around) the time of Rawkus’ Lyricist Lounge Vol. 1. He’s remained steadily in the background, working capably and building connections. One of those may yet pay off. Next week 88 Keys releases “The Death of Adam,” his debut as an MC and a record aided in part by friend Kanye West. This, obviously, will raise interest, and though Kanye appears only once, that singular stamp might be the ticket. Other guests are notable, if of a lower profile. There’s Redman, Bilal and Phonte.
“The Death of Adam,” also benefits from significantly better cover art than might usually be expected. Clear, simple and direct. And, decidedly without any lame allusions to hip-hop itself. The release is set for November 11 on Decon.