The project opens up with a cinematic intro "Get Down To Business" which as the title says, ushers in listeners with ease. Kaleber breaks down his antecedents and as a proud veteran emcee, he is more than eager to let every listener know he didn’t go anywhere—you just weren’t paying attention. Kaleber makes that point well-known on the fired-up opening track, “Amnesia,” which is a straight-up middle-finger to anyone who’s slept on him. Backed by Concept’s head-nodding instrumental, the emcee doesn’t hold back firing shots at fair-weather listeners and his competition in the rap game. This is followed by the heavy "Jewel Of The Isle" made up of strings and crunchy drum breaks that are all underpinned by Kaleber's vivid lyricism. On “Tape Deck,” Kaleber and Concept team up with JordanXavr to showcase just how much they love the culture with a smoky burner brimming with hip-hop Easter eggs and tons of name-dropping of legendary rappers who laid the foundation.
DJ Concept switches the vibe with the nostalgic jam “Rap is Wack,” which aims for the throat of mainstream rap with its head-nodding groove and memorable hook. Kaleber takes down what he sees as fluffy, weak AF nonsense and Concept is right there with him. He expertly weaves in well-placed samples from legends like Mobb Deep and ODB, who tout similar disdain for the current state of affairs. This is followed by the laidback love anthem, “I Just Can’t,” which boasts strong storytelling from Kaleber and a mellow piano-driven instrumental.
It’s that balance between outright aggression and mellow meditation that makes Kaleber and Concept’s work resonate. They know when to pull back and experiment with other sounds, all while providing a cohesive project.
the iller elite is available now through all major digital retailers and streaming platforms via Crisis Center Collective.