Curtiss King paves a path towards triumph with his sophomore independent album, Raging Waters.
It’s been approximately three years since the Inland Empire musician presented the public with his independent debut album, Atychiphobia. Although the rapper/producer has not been completely absent musically within this time frame, Curtiss was definitely missed by core fans who anxiously anticipated the moment he would be the one back on the beat rather than the man behind it.
At the initial glimpse of Raging Waters through a minute-long visual earlier this month, it was evident that Curtiss King would present us with something inspiring once again. He took to social media to state “Raging Waters won’t be for everyone” leaving fans with great curiosity and eager to listen.
Raging Waters begins with a beautiful introduction that takes Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” and places it atop a regal instrumental filled with percussion and strings. Curtiss initiates with “My life made a change overnight, you wouldn’t believe how I soared over heights…” setting the tone for the album. Imagine the high school band playing loud at the first home game as the stadium lights luster down on the field where the football team is making its grand entrance, prepared to show and prove and leave their heart out on that field. This is that.
“Ted Talks: Don’t Think” offers vocals by the lovely Brooke Taylor and unique production by Oh Gosh Leotus. On this track, Curtiss reminds us of a very important life jewel- you can’t rush greatness. The project takes a more seductive tone as it enters “Hump Day” featuring Bee Honey. The exquisite soulful production comes from Curtiss himself, which is not a surprise knowing he is an avid Sade, Erykah Badu, and Jill Scott fan. “Hump Day” depicts a subtle “situationship” from man’s stance.
Curtiss once again seeks the vocals of the talented Brooke Taylor on “Nuttin’ But love”, as well as Tone P. The song is made up of a bouncy, swing-jazz styled beat courtesy of THX. Curt handles the fun-filled and upbeat portion of the track while Brooke Taylor and Tone P make for an divine pair when the track enters an unpredicted and alluring intermission.
We find Oh Gosh Leotus again behind “Be Alright” featuring walterFRENCH. Curtiss King continues to recount the hardships endured in the journey towards this point in his life and career. This track is the most uplifting one within this entire album. Curt is never one to shy away from being an encouraging reinforcement, whether or not he means to, his art just drives him to that place that provides a safe haven to his listener.
“I Apologize” is a personal favorite of mine. Curtiss King confesses “[I Apologize] was a difficult one to pen. Came from a real place.”, and it is evident. This track is actually Post It Note #2. For those familiar with Curtiss’ previous work on Atychiphobia, “Post It Note #1” was a four-minute love letter to his lovely lady.
In an exclusive interview, in 2012, with Illsociety Magazine and I, Curt told us that the intent behind the title was for him to continue these “post it notes” on his future projects. However, “I Apologize” is a bit different from the first. In this track we find Curt speaking about the conflicts in his relationship. He opens up his heart, sets his pride aside, and admits to his mistakes, never straying away from the source which is the immense love and respect he has for his fiancée. It’s a very personal track, nonetheless many of us will be able to relate.
Da Flatlynerz do an amazing job on the production end for “Hard To Say This”, this track is undoubtedly one of my favorites. I really enjoy tracks that contain a dreamy-like sound and complementing sample. Curtiss uses this song to open up about his fall-out with Black Cloud Music, his previous label. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m missing my brothers…” he admits.
The album then makes a transition into the first official single “Give It 2 Me”. ATL producer I-75 Beats channels Curtiss King’s nostalgic signature energy over a feel-good filled beat which samples Da Brat’s 1994 single “Give It 2 Ya”. The track is a fun ride back into the early 90s as Curtiss channels his inner Dwayne Wayne with quirky lyrical advances. It lightens up the mood of the album, helping it enter a separate dynamic.
“Damn Homie” is a banger! Daylyt and comrade Stevie Crooks assist Curtiss who once again chooses Oh Gosh Leotus for production. The 50 Cent sampled phrase is what makes this track robust. “Skip A Rock” is another unique piece that hits you hard with bass, adopting a fine house feel.
King returns to his soulful state on “BTW” featuring Miss Chief. This track is Andre 3000 meets Ms. Badu. “OccupyYourTime” has Bee Honey lending her angelic vocals once more, completely stealing the spotlight over a King and Leotus collaboration.
“Party for 2” is an intimate conversation from Curtiss to the listener. Eric Tucker is phenomenal on the chorus of this track. Curt takes the time to address his discomfort of being labeled “slept-on” by fans.
“So be it if I’m slept-on, ‘cause I ain’t on the biggest of blogs.
I’m on a yellow brick road like The Wizard of OZ.
I don’t care if it’s Paid Dues or a hole in the wall,
As long as I got you and your support is involved…”
The closing of this album couldn’t have been better as Curtiss, and featured vocalist Kassy, take us on a reminiscent cruise down the LBC with a cover of Domino’s “Getto Jam”. Oh Gosh Leotus does a superb job bringing this 1993 Battlecat and Domino collaboration back to life. Bryan Parks on the saxophone is the icing on the cake. Curt never ceases to bring us into a nostalgic state, and we love it.
On this project, Curtiss King reminds us that no matter how high the tide rises, or how far the waves cradle you away into the abyss, you always find your way back to shore.
Raging Waters gifts us with a sophisticated, grown, and self-assured Curtiss. The Carson, California native rids himself of the fear of failure that weighed heavy upon his shoulders in his last project, and with that gone Curtiss King comes forth stronger than before with the ability to defy the current.
“Raging Waters won’t be for everyone”, those words resonate all throughout this album. Raging Waters is for the music listener with an acquired taste. It’s soul a la mode.
There’s only a six word phrase I can use to sum this up- ‘Heaven ain’t far at all, Curtiss.”.
Raging Waters is now available on iTunes.
Additional outlets: www.CurtissKing.com , Spotify