As with most genres, there are sub-genres where artists are continuing to explore and release interesting music. Kero One‘s last release Reflection Eternal was more of a presentation of his work as a producer. This most recent album, Kero & Azure! is a collaboration between Kero One and Azure that goes back to the style that Kero One became known for: Jazzhop. The intersection of Jazz and Hip-hop is interesting because it requires a specific flow, arrangement, and instrumentation. It’s less about hard bass over samples and more about a dialogue over the instrumentals.
Specifically with Kero One, his lyrics are about life and experiences. You get a window into his life and follow different stories. I never heard of Azure before Kero & Azure!, but the collaboration is amazing. The end result of songs all follow the same tone, but the jump from Kero One to Azure feels and sounds natural. Each artist’s way of presenting the vocals are similar as they easily flow over the beats. In the same way, the more laid back instrumentals let you get drawn in quickly. Kero & Azure! doesn’t have a single dropped track and the singles “Jazzhop” and “Let Me Show You” are some of the best Hip-hop songs of 2017.
To describe Kero and Azure!, I would say it’s essentially a summer album. It’s an album to listen as you take a drive, sit next to the pool, or hang out with friends. The low key nature hides the perfection right under the surface. Kero One’s flow is solid and feels effortless. That’s what I enjoy the most. It never sounds like he’s trying to prove how good he is, but presenting his style and letting the listener decide. Azure has a similar presentation, but accents in slightly different places to keep your attention. Listening to Azure, I feel like he could tell stories across a simple 4/4 beat and have your full attention.
Kero & Azure! is an example of a perfect collaboration. It allows both Kero One and Azure to have the spotlight. Each artist is able to make an impact and knows when to sit back. I like the Jazzhop genre because it allows freedom through music. It’s less about showing off an image and just letting you enjoy what’s coming from the speakers.