They say that for every great American city there’s a hip-hop hero, a one of a kind artist who fully represents what that locality stands for. When it comes to Portland, Oregon, you can ask anyone in the local hip-hop scene and their answer will be the same: Keary Kase. Although he’s an incomer, born in Trenton, New Jersey, he’s nonetheless established himself as a bit of a living legend in the PNW, by way of his persistence, intelligence, deft writing, detailed storytelling, and immense dedication to his own unique style of hip-hop. His 2002 single, ‘Oowee’, put him on the map all over the world, and is by now a bona fide classic. But Keary Kase is best known for his thoughtful, penetrating raps, which he delivers over incredible beats, with a voice that truly conveys his wisdom, long experience, and insight, as well as, at times, ambivalence and regret.
Keary Kase’s latest single and video, ‘Remember The Time’, should serve to new fans as an outstanding introduction to this artist’s impressive body of work. Written as a letter to old comrades in arms, the song manages to be wistful and pugnacious, nostalgic and forward-looking, caustic and self-critical, warm and diagnostic, all at once. But that’s just how it goes with Keary Kase: he is emotionally compex, deep, and has a wide range, and he brings it all to his songs.
‘Remember The Time’ starts with a vividly rendered flashback, and finishes with a beautifully written verse about the forces that pull good friends apart. Matching his lyrical talents to music that amplifies its intensity and its cinematic quality, the track is enhanced by resonant kick drums, gunshot cracking snares, an ethereally haunting synthesizer, and echoing electric guitars. The production are top notch, only fitting for such an extraordinary artist.
So of course, a track as impressive as ‘Remember The Time’ deserves to be matched with a video that is equally stylish. The video plays also as a love letter to Portland: opening with a long shot of Keary Kase crossing the Willamette River on a motorbike, there’s plenty of attention paid to dramatic footage of the jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Mostly however, it’s a showcase for the star, whose performance of ‘Remember The Time’ contains that mix of grace, and self-confidence, that have made his name. The clip shows him as a part of Portland itself – fading in and out of the shadows of the city, as much a part of the landscape of Portland as the bridges and bright neon lights.
Watch the video for ‘Remember The Time’ below and find out more about Keary Kase and his music online on Twitter.