by Sam Robinson
When you press play on the latest Reach Records release, 100 by KB, you might be mistaken to think that this is a record about mathematics. But it soon becomes clear that there’s only one number that matters to Florida rapper Kevin Burgess. It’s 100. Nothin’ less.
This number represents so much. Percentage-wise, it’s everything! As KB explains on the title track 100, Jesus gave us 100% of himself as he died in our place, and in return we’re to give him our everything as we live for him in this world today. No matter what we do with our time, we’re not to live for ourselves, or those around us, but for Jesus and him only. This EP is only six tracks long (and by the end of the 23 minutes I was aching for more!) but on 100, KB packs a serious punch both musically and lyrically as he unpacks what 100 is all about.
The EP opens with Give My All, a track with superb production that opens with soaring harmonies reminiscent of Kanye West’s Lost in the World. But just as your ears settle in, the track shapeshifts and evolves erratically, exploding at points. KB makes it clear why he’s rapping: it’s all for Jesus. He’s giving his all to him and him only.
Title track 100 (feat. Andy Mineo) continues the ideas on Give My All, amongst a trippy beat and electronic sounds. KB rejoices that his life is hidden with Christ and his challenge is to live, and work, for him wholeheartedly. What hits me hard is the closing moments:
I just wanna hear that / “Well done my faithful servant.” / A life full of push-backs / But that moment will all be worth it / ‘Cause my work is worship / And when he comes back for his church all over the earth / We’ll be given no less than what he gave us first: 100.
Undefeated (feat. Derek Minor) has a real slow grind to it and is written from the perspective of God, the creator, sustainer and ruler of everything. Kamikaze drips with dubstep and features Atlanta singer Prisca on the hook. It discusses what gets in the way of us giving God our 100, particularly when we fear man (worrying about the opinions of others) more than we fear God. “I am not the sum of what they say. Did they make me? Liberate me? Save me?” What a reminder!
KB gets honest on reflective yet bouncy track Doubts. Lyrically, the track moves from doubts and struggles with ungratefulness – ‘Will I make it to the end or will I fall and lose everything?’ – to a more positive space, acknowledging the comfort of the Spirit and the secure hope found in Christ. Doubts is very similar in rawness to Andy Mineo’s Death of Me on Never Land.
Production-wise, final track Crazy is just that. LUNACY. Filled with quirky trap, reggae beats, and a scratchy jam to finish, it’s unconventional and a lot of fun. It’s a positive end to 100, and in many ways it’s a send-off. We’ve been challenged to live for Jesus and him only, and here is the encouragement that God is with us in our joys and our struggles.
If I have a criticism of this EP, it’s over too soon, but hey – that’s an EP for you! Although 100 is short, it manages to move from focussing on God and why he deserves our 100%, to acknowledging how much we need God’s help to actually live for him and him only.
KB has made a brilliant EP in 100. It is centred on Jesus, packed with top-class production, and it’s crazy fun listen to with car windows wound right down. I’m giving it four out of five, nothin’ less.