Kid Ink has proven through numerous mixtapes that he’s a viable rapper coming out of the West Coast scene. Since carrying the torch for Los Angeles alongside Hopsin on the 2012 XXL Freshman cover, Ink’s transitioned from an indie success story (Up & Away sold 20,000 units in it’s first week on stands) to a major label prospect with major commercial potential. His first single “Bad Ass” alongside Meek Mill and Wale served as proof that Ink could keep up with the big dogs and as a precursor to his major label debut under RCA, he holds fans over with Almost Home.
Throughout the EP, Ink shows confidence in his rhymes and a strong command of his hooks, slinging catchy boasts alongside A$AP Ferg and French Montana on “Bossin’ Up”. Walking the line between singing and rapping on songs like “Fuck Sleep” and “Sunset” Ink’s sound has a distinctly laid-back California feel on the whole. This vibe permeates whatever the subject matter at hand may be, from inspirational anthems (“Money And The Power”) to heartbreak (“Was It Worth It”). Ink taps producers Lifted, Rico Love and frequent collaborator Ned Cameron for the work behind the boards, which varies from triumphant, to slow and groovy, to bouncy.
Ink’s attempts at simple, one dimensional hits aimed at the strip-clubs prove to be his music’s most glaring flaw. Driven by the recent sounds of Tyga, YG and Problem, Ink’s likely trying to capitalize on the sound’s commercial peak. And while “Bad Ass” will work for the time being, it’s limiting, particularly for an artist still trying to find their own sound. But Ink’s been able to connect strongly with his extremely loyal fan base so far, and Almost Home should not only satisfy them, but also bring some new ones aboard.—Eric Diep (@E_Diep)