MC KC Dutcher is, after all, a father, part of local Afrobeat act Shake Alert and a public schools employee. This all means his time is surely tight, but we like to imagine he stays up late after the kids have gone to bed, notebook in hand, thesaurus nearby, crafting rhymes and flows to go with his '90s R&B-reminiscent backing beats or subtle nods to reggae and lo-fi East Coast titans of rap like Biggie or Wu Tang.
We'll start there, particularly with the track "Full Fly Zone," a clever and heavier beat that's one part Casio beat machine, one part gangster rap mood whistle and one part K.Dutch's back-and-forth between sugary-smooth singing voice and borderline angry flow. "History lies, open your eyes," he says. "It's time to get real, it's time to go to work—go volunteer; go get on a ballot, volunteer, mentor a child." It sounds angry, feels positive, made us think about how we could do more—a call to arms, of sorts, and a perfect encapsulation of K.Dutch's whole deal: Dude wants to enact change.
Take "The Future," a political chiptune-esque callback to 8-bit Nintendo soundtracks that envisions a bleak future where the environment is wrecked, stocks mean nothing and people die—but, ruh-roh, we're basically there now. Thanks for nothing, Trump. "Human blood, the new fuel for cranes in factories," he laments. And he's right, but Home isn't all heavy bum-out songs. Tracks like "PS" and "I Get Over" not only feel sexy as hell, but pay respect to educators and remind us that we have power if we care to grasp it.
Mastering from Hills Audio champ Will Dyar (Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand, anyone?) cleans things up a bit, and Dutch's voice is clear and tight, but we're almost more interested in where he'll go next. As debuts go, Always Home comes pretty close to excellent, but even with the lack of over-production, it feels not quite there. We'd love to see what K.Dutch would be capable of if he were to hit a studio for a couple days, maybe with a live band, to which we know he has access. Still, there are some serious bangers on Home and his heart's in the right place—a welcome surprise in a city that seems to embrace hip-hop more and more with each passing year.
If you wanna, listen here.