With so many artists trying to get famous on Soundcloud, it can be hard to find one worth listening to. If you are lucky though you can discover a hidden talent like Mica Ntabaza, also known as Kid Filthy. He is a 19-year-old, Vancouver-based emcee with an impressive amount of skill and versatility on the mic.
Late last year he dropped his first project The Couve—named after his home city—but it feels far more mature than your average debut. His flow is well practised and he has excellent breath control, making it clear he is a student of his craft. He keeps great count of his syllables and delivers them with such a consistent rhythm it feels like a semi-automatic firearm. Between tracks he also manages to switch up his flow, all the while maintaining his consistency.
A great example of Filthy switching up his style is on the banger track “Stamina” which is sure to get your shoulders bouncing. He increases the tempo of his flow here making it almost reminiscent of U.K. grime. Filthy also switches things up on the emotional track “Ride 4 U.” It starts with a very soulful intro which explodes into an aggressive, in-your-face opening verse. This juxtaposition between soulful and aggressive is present throughout the whole track, which is what makes it so great.
While this project has many candidates for best verse, the second verse on “Some Will Try” takes the cake. Not only is his flow absolutely nasty, but it’s packed with dense wordplay. There is an impressive double entendre that references both welding and underground emcee MF DOOM which is pure fire. He even sneakily references one of his obvious influences, Joey Bada$$.
Overall Filthy’s flow is quite consistent, but it noticeably stumbles on “B.O.M.B.S.” The acronym stands for blame it on my black skin and it is a solid track from a conceptual standpoint. But his timing seems off and it feels like he’s trying to shove too many words into each bar. This might be in part due to the instrumental, which does not pair very well with the vocals. On the plus side, Filthy’s ability to write a quality hook is still on point.
Filthy cited Carter-era Lil Wayne as a major influence and it really shows in his fantastic wordplay. The chorus on “Net Worth” has a creative play on the television show Prison Break and its lead actor Wentworth Miller that Filthy says goes over most people’s heads. But the best display of Filthy’s elaborate wordplay is in the first verse of “Sway Like Sinatra.” He drops a complex line that references a skit off of Big K.R.I.T.’s Cadillactica as well as the self-proclaimed internet’s busiest music nerd, Anthony Fantano.
Filthy also needs to be praised for his ability to write a hook. Many established rappers still have trouble with this, but he manages to come through with well-written, catchy choruses. After speaking with Filthy, he revealed that he grew up primarily listening to R&B and soul music. This is where he learned about pitch and tone and was able to effectively translate this into his music.
This project has a total of three producers across its eight tracks. One of them, FMN, is actually Filthy’s younger brother. Most of the production though is handled by Supervoid who for the most part, does a good job. His beats are stripped-back and airy which contrasts nicely with Filthy’s bold delivery. While some may find the production basic, it does a good job of complimenting the emcee and allows them to shine. This is similar to Ant’s style of production for his emcee counterpart Slug in the legendary underground duo Atmosphere. While many young rappers will pay for studio time, the entirety of The Couve was recorded in Supervoid’s bedroom.
The Couve is a fantastic debut from an incredibly talented emcee, especially considering its almost nonexistent budget. Moreover, it shows great potential in Kid Filthy’s ability as an artist. Being a true student of his craft, he will only grow more from here on out. He revealed that a concept album is in the works so look out for that in the near future and give this project a listen.
“Some Will Try”
“Ride 4 U”
(Feature Image: The Couve, Kid Filthy)