To exist at the forefront of a pioneering brand of music is one thing. Breaking down barriers, forging new paths, and creating substantially influential content within the realm of that brand is another. Looking for a dose of gritty, soulful, perspective-driving hip hop? California beat conductor MRTNZ and rapper KENO have got you covered.
Their latest project, titled “Neo Renaissance,” encompasses these ideals and then some. The project’s namesake seeks to bring to light the motivations behind each of the artist’s transition into new avenues of exploration. MRTNZ, a producer rooted in soul-sampling and boom-bap snares, melts your face with ambient, heartfelt trap-like production on tracks like “WHOTHEF*CKISTHAT?!”, and eases your soul with sample-ridden joints like “Rain” and “Triumph & Conquer.” KENO comes through with Tyson-like punches on those as well, but counters with beautiful introspection on songs like “In the Morning.”
This collaborative 6-track EP, is not just a reflection of their maturation of skill. It’s not just indicative of their willingness to expand their creative horizons. It’s a manifestation of old meets new. A magnum opus geared towards altering what we perceive to be influential and relevant in Hip-Hop. Petrarch and Da Vinci would be proud.