Commentarial gospel tracks don’t always celebrate self-confidence in the way that straight-up celebratory faith-based hip-hop songs do, but the crossover single “Kill Tha King” by Serious Voice is a rare example of a relatively hard piece rocking a personal swagger like no other track I’ve heard this year. Serious Voice has been making noise throughout 2023 with the energy she brings with her into the studio but with the arrival of this latest composition, I think we’re able to get a better grasp of just how much moxie she’s packing as an artist (and not just a rapper). “Kill Tha King” is meticulous and suspenseful, but it’s not to be associated with the surreal hip-hop movement and the specific dualities its artists have become known for in the last four years.
If there’s such a thing as being cutting and calculated at the same time, this player has mastered the art of balancing the two extremes, and the performance she gives in this single is evidence of how much skill and talent she’s jointly pouring into every stepping stone between this release and the one that wins her a major award. She’s hitting us as hard as she can in the chorus, but only to express just how much she’s feeling in the rawest of terms she can utilize from within the four walls of a recording studio. When force is required she’ll use it, but efficiency seems to play a role in every decision Serious Voice makes.
I would love to hear the isolated vocal track acapella style from this master mix, primarily because I think it would sound as piercing and melodically enrapturing as it does with the sonic bells and whistles it’s joined by here. Her verses are off-center with the pace of the instruments deliberately, breaking up the graceful stride of the percussion with a jagged offering of emotionality where we’re least expecting to find one. It’s as though she wants to replicate God’s constant intersections of hope, love, disappointment, and reflection with purely compositional means, transforming what would otherwise be a simple rap song into something that encapsulates the emotional patchwork that makes up a lifetime of devotion that can only be found through positivity and love.
Structurally speaking, “Kill Tha King” is the most provocative look Serious Voice has shown us so far, and quite honestly I found it to be a much more powerful style of performance than I had initially thought her capable of giving us. I want to hear her push herself even more than she already is in this single, because if it yields the same results as what we end up with in “Kill Tha King,” Serious Voice could be fast-tracked for an elite class of gospel rappers sooner than any of us would have thought she’d be. There’s nothing but restlessness and a fundamental respect for the conceptualism of modern faith music in this piece, and that puts her in high regard among anyone serious about quality gospel content in 2023.
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