DADDY KEVLost Angels EP (Celestial)

Don’t worry that it shares its title with a godawful 1989 teen-angst turkey starring King Adrock, or that it starts off with dialogue jacked from an equally corny flick, 1997‘s wannabe 90210-on-shrooms Nowhere (”L.A. is, like, nowhereEverybody who lives here is lost“). Local left-field hip-hop beatmaker Daddy Kev’s Lost Angels is a real-deal holy field of dreams deferred. And like most voyages taken during slumber, Daddy Kev‘s ”producer-as-artist“ solo debut drops you into an alt-world where daily operations are the shit that makes no sense back in real time. But the ”angels“ in this fantasyland don’t play harps — they play microphones.

Since 1998, the L.A.-based progressive beat-and-rhyme imprint Celestial Recordings has gained acclaim with creatively daring, sometimes spaced-out sounds, and two of the label‘s most notable releases, Fat Jack’s Cater to the DJ and O.D.‘s Beneath the Surface, were compilationlike MC gatherings where the real star of the show was the guy behind the boards. The oddly inspired Lost Angels EP is a similar affair, though with far fewer tracks its conceptual focus is understandably tighter. Collaborating with L.A. underground rap’s most eccentric, bugged-out wordsmiths, Kev exposes a taste for the weird while coming correct by custom-fitting each loony lyricist‘s distinct mic personality with snappy drums and cleverly chopped samples, all well-versed in low-end theory. While Aceyalone is Freestyle Fellowship’s most recognized fella, Daddy knows best by enlisting the talents of the group‘s two furthest-reaching improv flowmasters, Mikah 9 and P.E.A.C.E., on the list-making ”First Things Last“ and the miracle-working ”Walking on Water“ respectively. Leimert Park’s legendary Thursday-night hip-hop workshop Project Blowed gets an energetic theme song with Busdriver‘s ”Blowed Anthem,“ while AWOL One, who recently paired with Daddy Kev on the critically lauded album Souldoubt, advises, ”Respect your eldersStay away from graveyards“ on ”Lick Me I’m Famous.“ Strangest of all is the non-rhyming free-association freak Circus on the appropriately titled ”This Stuff‘s Really Wacko,“ a twisted take on SoCal street life complete with breakdancing cops in riot gear.

Unlike the majority of sound scientists operating in the dirtiest depths of indie hip-hop, Daddy Kev delivers productions that are both brainy and funky, abstract yet accessible, packing enough boom-bap and nod factor to make DJ Premier approve while still satisfying geeky backpacker rap snobs. Taking flight with inspired originality, stoner friendliness and bumpworthy appeal, Lost Angels has more wings than Linda McCartney sitting on a cloud drinking a Red Bull. Wack shit says goodbye, Daddy Kev says halo.

LA Weekly