Veteran Westcoast emcee Mykestro has been around for well over a decade and after many mixtapes, EP’s and collaboration projects over the years. He has finally released what was at one point his very highly-anticipated debut solo album. In the form of, King Arthur, on his very own label, Skillz Still Appeal.
Well worth the wait, the album is as Westcoast as you can get with the very smooth and stellar production throughout. The 10-track effort featuring production from legendary Westcoast producer, DJ Battlecat with what’s easily one of the top two or three tracks on the album, if not arguably the best. The very soulful, Gangsta Blues. That sees Mykestro spitting such soulfully real lines over the very beautiful organs and chants of Battlecat and Jaazquait co-produced track as, “Adidas have your shit looking brand new. Gucci waving high to the cut throats. Air Force 1’s and your J’s with ‘em. The White Reebok’s with the ice bottoms. High top stars with the tongue folded. Flight 89’s, you know Mike got ‘em. With them eyes out bucket and my chain swingin’. Liquor store locs’ and my Starter cap. Blue bomber jacket out the sports arena. When you a G, shit Caprice think you all that.” As well as production from Macado of popular Westcoast production group League Of Starz on 3 tracks and from Like of veteran Westcoast group, Pac Div, on 2 tracks, really carrying the bulk of how Westcoast sounding the album is.
The very cinematic snaps of the Macado and Mykestro production on the intro track, Corduroy Houseshoes, really letting you know what a dope and classic not only debut album, but album you are in for period. Especially with such lyrics as, “Letting n***as know from the get go. Talkin’ that shit will get you sent for. Mom’s used to send me to the corner store. Cool filter kings in the Sentinel. Mike used to come and scope a n***a up. Nissan truck with the center girls. N***as had the b*#*hes on the mud flaps. You know the ones that pose like the center folds. Yeah them the ones they was super fresh. N***as tote guns at the Super Fest.” Letting you know that real Westcoast gangsta storytelling you are in for throughout the album. Very hard yet beautiful production like the one on the Mark Knoxx and Syknezs co-produced, All I Know, also showing it. Which is another very great storytelling track that shows why Mykestro was at one point in time one of the most sought upcoming lyricists with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Glasses Malone and Jay Rock that would carry the Westcoast for years to come.
Holding his own throughout the album by himself and without any features, the veteran Westcoast emcee shows why he’s a true emcee in every sense of the word. Especially on tracks like Dockwiler Beach and Makin It. The latter a very silky smooth Macado-produced track that has Mykestro spitting some of the best storytelling rhymes you will hear and shows why so many have been not only waiting for his solo debut for so long, but even arguing why he’s among the best emcees there’s that has never really got their just due. Spitting such standout and heartfelt bars as, “Learning to use rap as an outlet. A mere paintbrush and easel for your pain. Or coming home to a plate in the microwave. You love T-bone, so she Tebowed you the game. You in the club throwing C-Notes at the dames. Only way you know how to Elope with the fame. Feels like history was rewrote when you came. A flow like cursive, but the keystroke is insane.”
The very stellar production that really lets Mykestro’s very strong lyrical pen game and standout emceeing of so many double and triple entendres throughout. Is one of the strongest points of the whole album. The very cinematic and piano-laden Big Head Dez-produced backdrop of the title track, King Arthur, really letting him show off that stellar emceeing and pen game some of the most the whole album. Such lyrical gems as, “Solely had my heart set on solo plaque-nichen. Than I discovered I could bring rhyming back, to the forefront. They keep implying that. I should stop pursuing the dream and sign with Smack. But that ain’t really my thing. But you can’t deny the fact. The fact that I’m uncategorizeable. Young, dapper and striving for excellence. Perfectionist, the unsung as rhymers go. Don’t want to end up in the line. Like that’s not what I signed up for.” Also, “Dope, open the eyes of those. Hope spoke in the minds of those. I hope of a time all of them lines that go over mine. You can rewind and find a gem.” The perfect way to close what’s easily not only arguably the best Hip-Hop album of the new year and decade so far, but one of the best albums of the year period so far here in 2020. Like Mykestro said in his last line of King Arthur, “Skillz Still Appeal.” Which is why he was able to deliver such a classic and cinematically timeless Westcoast debut album without having to compromise his great emceeing and very lyrical skills to do so.