Kid Ink Is Back To His Usual Formula On ‘Full Speed’
Kid Ink isn’t some hip-hop purist who forces his brain cells to come up with jaw-dropping metaphors. But he’s still an MC and his rhymes and melodic hooks command attention. As an independent artist, Ink’s 2012 album, Up & Away, peaked at No. 20 on the Billboard 200. The outcome of his hard work was a deal with RCA and his major label debut, My Own Lane, spending time as the number one overall album on iTunes in January 2014. The jocular but rough Ink has perfected the skill of making a complete album that’s ear candy. And this week, the tatted-up rhymer offered a stellar 12-track sophomore project, Full Speed, that puts listeners in an array of feelings: Confident, grind mode, go mode and club hopping mode.
Full Speed begins with the energetic, and triumphant “What It Feels Like.” Over production from Kicking J Beats, Kid Ink’s crisp voice creeps over blaring horns and the soothing hums of a female voice as he raps about going beast mode without sleep or food. “What It Feels Like” strategically sets the feel-good tone for Full Speed by following his club-friendly formula that makes Kid Ink a mainstay on radio airwaves.
If the album’s first track proves that Kid Ink’s music sits comfortably on the airwaves and in the clubs, second song “Faster” brings it home, as the 2012 XXL Freshman flexes his confidence,\ and further solidifies his position in the game. Ink’s easy-to-remember hook and concise lyrics mesh well with the thumping snares and makes listeners want to screw their face and bounce along to the 808s. “You say want to live faster, faster / I got what you ask for / All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom / You ain’t that shy, baby / Don’t be acting bashful,” he raps, and while these lyrics aren’t as profound as many of his hip-hop contemporaries, they do the job that Ink has been called to do—encourage you to move your body.
However, the middle section of Full Speed is where the album loses some luster. While he’s proven that he can make a living by rapping over up-tempo backdrops, the repetition can get mundane to listeners. Fans would revel in getting to know Kid Ink, in hearing a few personal stories in his music. Kid Ink doesn’t do that. Which is why the DJ Mustard-produced “Be Real,” featuring the petite hook killer Dej Loaf, sounds mediocre. So does the Migos-assisted “Every City We Go.” Migos don’t sound comfortable over Kid’s festive backdrops. Had Kid Ink stepped out of his comfort zone, the collabs with Migos and Dej Loaf could’ve worked.
The next set of songs all follow Kid Ink’s party, women and have fun formula. The album closes out with the Metro Boomin and DJ Spinz-produced “Like A Hott Boyy,” with Young Thug. Over hypnotic chords and screeching yells provided by Thugga, the MCs sound full of energy and swag as they flex in and out of the beat with braggadocios lyrics. Full Speed exits the way that it commences, with a banging club anthem that makes one feel bigger than life, and for few minutes forget life’s ills.
Overall, Full Speed is probably Kid Ink’s best project to date. He sounds focused and he executes by pleasing his core fans with quality radio and club-friendly music. With all the conflict, allegations and turmoil sweeping the rap game in the past month, hip-hop needs a moment to relax and have fun. That moment has finally arrived. —Darryl Robertson