When Jay-Z unleashed Magna Carta…Holy Grail last week, he got a Fortune 500 company to buy a million copies up front and tossed in a bonus data-fishing program. These, I’m told, are the #newrules. The rapper Ka will release his new album tomorrow, but his rules are rather #older. He’s showing up at the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and 8th Street in the Village, with some boxes of CDs and LPs, and selling them himself.
Ka, like Jay-Z, is fortysomething and from Brooklyn. Last year, he put out Grief Pedigree, his second album. It’s a fantastic record: grim, taut, witty, an unshakable moodpiece. (I wrote a little love letter to Grief Pedigree here.) Ka has a cult following among critics and nineties New York rap purists, but you don’t need to be nostalgic to appreciate his mesmerizingly stately flow, uncluttered production, the punch lines he tucks into his densely packed verses. His new album is called The Night’s Gambit; by the sound of the first single, “Our Father,” it’s another winner. Tomorrow, you can get the CD for $10 and the vinyl for $20, and you get to meet Ka. Samsung phone strictly optional.