Knxwledge is Power

todayMarch 17, 2023 29 1 5

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By: Adrianna Elias
Rap/Hip-Hop Journalist

Glen Earl Boothe, known as Knxwledge in the hip-hop space, is a Los Angeles native and record producer/songwriter best known for his instrumentals. The warmth and sense of nostalgia in his sound make his music easily recognizable. A Knxwledge track is minimal to a point but abstract enough to make you wonder if you’ve heard it before, thanks to the curated choice of soul samples and R&B ballads from the 90s.

Since 2009, he has had over 100 releases via Bandcamp. In 2010, he released his debut album, Klouds, via All City. I’ve only recently found him after hearing the 1988 track “dont be afraid” on TikTok. No shame. Sometimes finding music through the internet isn’t as lame as people make it out to be. How you discover an artist usually comes with a greater story than when you discover them. I have made some of the greatest music mutuals through TikTok before having those friends in real life (thanks, Knxwledge!).

Knxwledge has quickly become a staple in my daily music rotation. One of my favorite aspects of artists that draws me in is their origin, especially when they are rooted in inspiration and support from their families. In an interview, he expressed gratitude to his parents for teaching him sampling techniques by recording radio stations playing in his family’s home and flipping through sermons and choir performances at his church.

Pulling inspiration from Madlib, J Dill and MF DOOM, signing with Stone Through Records was a no-brainer. This sign eventually led him to NxWorries, a collaboration group between him and Anderson. KNX has a history of using the internet to his advantage, whether it’s using YouTube freestyles from a young Meek Mill in his remix album, MEEK.VOL5_, or playing around making beats on Twitch, where he live-streams and makes silly YouTube videos.

1988 is Knxwledge’s second album. Although 1988 uses a similar method to the beat tapes and mixes he usually releases, its warm and inviting auras give it some originality. Named after the year he was born, the album is filled with pop culture material, including snippets from Cooley High and radio interviews celebrating his origins and fixations. His art has always had a strong sense of nostalgia, yet he has the ability of an agnostic to respect the past while adapting it to his needs.

A record sitting on a table behind a mug and camera. The record has a photo of a man with the title of the album “1988” and artist name “Knxwledge.”
1988 on vinyl! Fun fact: I got this during a first date. | Image Credit: Adrianna Elias

This was the mood throughout 1988. On opener “don’t be afraid,” he snips 90s R&B group Kut Klose’s track “Surrender” into a sensuous, yearning loop. “Don’t be afraid of the way you feel,” the group sings, while their voices are altered to waft over snappy percussion.

For “amansloveislife_keepon,” another Kut Klose flip, he rearranges the groove of “Keep On” around the instrumentation instead of the group’s harmonies. It’s a simple change but it unlocks the funk embedded in the song, which itself samples Patrice Rushen’s “Remind Me.” It feels less like a tweak than a correction. While he’s clearly a student of J Dilla and Madlib, Knxwledge distinguishes himself with his special attention to the contours of the human voice. The feathery keys and faint percussion on “watchwhoukallyourhomie,” a flip of an old Meek Mill freestyle, trace the edges of Meek’s buoyant yelps, matching his bobs and weaves.

Likewise, the soured horns of “solivelife” drift around a helium-laced Anderson. Paak vocally, freeing the crooner’s voice to drag and spill across measures. Knxwledge seems endlessly fascinated by the voice’s ability to spawn new rhythms or bind disparate ones together.

He now streams on Twitch, which is honestly funny to see him make goofy beats with his insane musical knowledge (no pun intended). If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you follow up and keep up with him. Don’t just know a track like “dont be afraid.” Also listen to some of his other creations, such as “learn,” “makeitliveforever,” and “amansloveislife_keepon”; these are my personal favorites.

Check out the playlist down below for some of my favorite tracks from Knxwledge and others of his friends that I enjoy!


Featured Image Screenshotted from Bandcamp

Written by: Amaya Lewis

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