K-OS at the Mod Club Theatre (722 College), Monday-Wednesday (October 30-November 1). $30. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
k-os... where do i begin? a couple of weeks ago the artist went berserk on MySpace, posting a long, incoherent, ramble of a bulletin in response to what he deemed a less than flattering critique I'd written about his latest album, Atlantis: Hymns For Disco.
He called me an Uncle Tom, a Sambo and a pawn of the white conspirators at NOW Magazine who've shamelessly duped me into doing their bidding.
In his rant, Kheaven Brereton refers to our common Trinidadian background. Should I have based my review on ancestry? What does this have to do with a less than stellar album?
I write about music. If I like the music, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say so. I also won't be deterred by the ravings of temperamental artists who can't accept the remote possibility that everything they touch doesn't turn to gold.
K-os will not allow for the possibility that I wouldn't love his record and would have the nerve to say so.
When I get a hold of him a week or so after his MySpace tantrum made headlines, he reveals his theory that I based my review on Tim Perlich's of his last album, Joyful Rebellion.
That's why he called me an agent in the racist, anti-k-os agenda at NOW.
Not to get all logical here, but the problem with his accusation is that there's just no reason or precedent for me to suddenly adopt someone else's opinion. K-os forgets that I've had lots of positive, well-thought-out things to say in NOW and elsewhere about his past projects.
But according to him, I may not even be aware I've become part of the conspiracy to suppress him.
"'Manipulated' is a very interesting word," he says, "and I did use that word. It means that the person being manipulated might not even know. He's just doing his thing. I've been manipulated in my life and I'm sure I've manipulated people. We all as humans do it, you know what I'm saying?"
He says the "indie rock" way always favours a limited definition of hiphop, which is what he thinks I'm guilty of doing.
"There's all these people outside of hiphop who want to posture and decide what it is or who's allowed to go here, or [they want to] keep you under the thumb of humility when it comes to you growing or trying to do things in different genres," he laments.
K-os thinks I should be loyal to him based not only on the Trinidad connection, but on a relationship he considers more personal than professional. Talk about manipulation.
"You've interviewed me a couple times, and you've reviewed a couple of my things, right? I have a personal relationship because I talk to you about music and hiphop. I know stuff about you, like what culture you're from, like some of the records you listened to growing up. So when the name Jason Richards comes up, it's not just like John Smith is reviewing me.
"It's personal because I consider you to understand hiphop quite well," he continues.
For all his issues, I wonder if he regrets his response.
"Do I regret writing those words? I mean, do you sometimes look at something you did and think you could have done it better, or more artfully?
"But I don't regret expressing myself. I just grow, and hope as a person that I can learn to express myself in a more clear, less convoluted, emotional way."