January 14, 2018
Everyone carries a different weight. Some drag the baggage of a damaged heart, some hold on to regrets, and some were born into brokenness. No matter the burdens shouldered, people find a way to cope. For Charlotte-based rapper and Myers Park graduate Jeffery Kyle Pace, better known as K. Pace, he has persevered the trials of existence by throwing himself into his music.
A Charlotte native, he was introduced to drug abuse, violence, and a “constant police and social services presence” at an impressionable age, having only his younger brother to look to in times of desperation, who he cites as his “greatest inspiration.” Growing up, the young man managed to separate himself from his home life, branching out into sports, education, and most importantly, music. It would seem that the majority of his life’s experience has coalesced into his latest release, a seven-song album entitled Novelty.
The album’s lyrical themes are clear cut throughout: trauma, trial, and triumph. Pace discusses the ordeals that have marked his young life, referencing his higher goals and support systems to bring a message of positivity and growth to his listeners. Pace is an artist obsessed with moving forward from his past, not out of shame, but determination to find a better place for himself and those that follow him. This optimism is born out of harsh realities, both in his personal life and at the national level, occasionally referencing the current administration and the problems that come with it, albeit at a skin-deep level.
The music of Novelty shares a common trait with its lyrics. Consistency. Both Pace’s flow and the beats that back him show hardened similarity through each of the seven songs. This presents an advantage, found in the adage “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Pace has found his comfort zone, and exploits it willingly, staying within his desired boundaries that he succeeds in. Following in the footsteps of artists such as Atmosphere and G. Eazy, Pace’s beats are low-key and steady, his flow equally modest in a display of seeming brevity, and for some listeners, it’s exactly what they’re looking for. The disadvantage of this approach is that some listeners may be searching for variety, and other rappers are presenting that variety in spades.
For everything that Pace does right with Novelty, it’s still missing the element of “new” that the rap industry thrives on. Breaking out with a debut record is hard enough, but making it groundbreaking seems damn near impossible with the diversity that artists and listeners alike all celebrate in the modern age. However, perhaps Pace wasn’t trying to break new ground on this record. Putting one’s thoughts and experiences into a cohesive album can be more than enough, especially for a new artist going up against an already daunting industry. One way or another, Novelty doesn’t seem to be the end for K. Pace, and Charlotte can definitely expect more from this young rapper in the coming years as he continues to exercise his potential and experience, creating more art from the pieces of broken lives around him.