Knowledgeborn 07 – Cosmic Knowledge

Track Listing:
1.) Cosmic Knowledge ft. Popa Wu
2.) What A Trip (ft. Ras Zackary)
3.) 27 Miles
4.) Dead Willow Blues
5.) Let The Grass Grow
6.) Blessed (ft. Prince Po)
7.) I Know
8.) Popa’s Knowledge (ft. Popa Wu)
9.) Daily Hope
10.) Overcome (ft. Ras Attitude, Zack Walters of 3rd Alley)
11.) Necessarius
12.) Stay Positive (ft. Sublime, Led Zeppelin, KB07, Jah Works, Johnny Comic)

The Pier Album Rating:

Record Label: Mother Brain/Boss DJ

Group Background:

Hailing from South Bend, IN, Knowledgeborn07 has come a long way to become the artist you hear today. His early music influences include Beethoven, Mozart, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Sublime, Steve Miller Band, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors & Led Zeppelin… all the way to Beastie Boys, X-clan, Run DMC, Ice Cube, Slick RicK, Too $hort, Tupac, Mos Def & The Wu-Tang Clan.
Cosmic Knowledge, several notable appearances on the album include: Popa Wu (Senior Member of the Wu-Tang Clan), Prince Po (a member of the classic hip-hop group Organized Konfusion), P Tugz, Ras Zackary, Ras Attitude, Zack Walters (of the Long Beach based band 3rd Alley), and of course the Fluid Minds crew (John Gray, Frank Clayton, Christian Rogala, & GooZe). John Gray took the reigns as producer and engineer for the album, which is to be released on Fluid Minds’ independent label, Mother Brain Productions.

Album Review:
Unlike the majority of the records that come across the Pier’s radar, Knowledgeborn07 is decidedly not a reggae artist, at least not exclusively. There are hints of reggae skank smattered across Cosmic Knowledge, but overall the album might find a better home on the streets of the South Bronx than Kingston, or Def Jam rather than Studio One. However, it would be fair to add that although the album’s roots lie in hip-hop (and its best tracks) Knowledgeborn07 and producer Johnny Cosmic amalgamate a wide array of styles not normally associated with either reggae or hip-hop such as industrial, hard rock, and downbeat acoustic rock a la Radiohead on their more tender days in Cosmic Knowledge, an approach that produces some startlingly impressive moments and at other times derails the album’s consistency, especially for those who may try to listen to the album straight through in one shot.

As I mentioned earlier, Knowledgeborn07 and producer Johnny Cosmic are undeniably most home on the album’s straight-ahead hip-hop tracks, many of which stand-out as album highlights. Dead Willow Blues with its distorted guitar stabs and shifts between sung and rapped vocals presents an unrelenting anecdote of one man’s struggle to leave behind the Babylonian corporate system in pursuit of ‘the most high’ in both mind and lifestyle. Blessed produces a Franti-esque meditation with socially conscious lyrical subject matter akin to Dead Willow Blues, however the grooves bounces instead of shuffling, and the song generates a mellow mood wreaking of positive vibes as Knowledgeborn07 and Prince Po swap verses on finding truth and meaning in an ever-darkening world.

The amount of positivity emanating from Cosmic Knowledge lends the album an almost endearing quality; although there’s a misstep here and there (such as Necessarius and 27 Miles which both fall into the trappings of injecting melodic rock qualities into an album steeped in hip-hop and reggae to ill effect) the optimism and sincerity Knowledgeborn07 offers with nearly every take and every rhyming couplet. Whether decrying the socio-economic status quo or cheerfully crooning over Daily Hope, it’s Knowledgeborn07’s unwavering optimism in the face of a world drowning with injustices that help makes the album’s standout moments even more poignant.

While Cosmic Knowledge may not be Knowledgeborn07’s masterpiece, the album does provide a steady stream of respectable hip-hop tracks and New Age, rasta-influenced ponderings, courtesy of Popa Wu. Though the constant stream of social commentary may rub some listeners as preachy, fans of Michael Franti and other socially conscious hip-hop/reggae artists should find plenty of familiar ground in Cosmic Knowledge. Plus, you can download the album for free right here on The Pier’s home page or by CLICKING HERE. For the price of only a few minutes of your time, Cosmic Knowledge is certainly worth checking out, at least for Blessed, I Know, and Overcome.

Written & Reviewed by: Chris Castro

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