Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 17, Adrian Kniffley latched onto music as a constant. “I’ve always loved to create. Through music I had a way to express my creative side in my own way. I never started doing music to be a millionaire or to glorify material things. Just followed my heart.” The Louisville, KY, artist, was born into a musically cultured family, and began writing songs and composing music by 4th grade. After being introduced to the music producing program, FL Studio, Adrian knew he had found his niche. For much of the last couple of years hip-hop has been under a microscope. As many artists found success with seemingly indecipherable lyrics. Critics have been questioning if these lyricists deserve a seat at rap’s table. Their penchant for mumbling words over a hard beat became a fan magnet, but not all of hip-hop’s vanguard welcomed the new regime with open arms.
The predicament of simple comprehension in hip-hop is a crucial one, but when you have a lyrical rapper like Adrian Kniffley in the room, all the dreck and the drivel of mumble rap disappears; technical skill, poetic quality and social significance come to the fore.
Adrian raises the stakes of rhyming by presenting his aspirations, his experiences as well as the challenges he faces on the album “Authentic”. He then pairs this with a commentary on the priorities in the culture he is surrounded by. Adrian also calls into question the ideal of ‘realness’, which has long been affiliated with street cred.
Often Adrian Kniffley’s wordplay is so subtle, so effortless, you don’t even realize he’s doing it at first, and when you do, you think back and say, “Damn, Adrian. That was dope.” Unlike a lot of emcees who act tough in their raps, Adrian gets very real very quick in a way that catches you off-guard. Part of the power of some of his lines comes from its brevity; it comes at you so fast, it hits you like a blow to the face. Taken into account all the aforementioned elements,
The proliferation of the album, “Authentic”, isn’t simply a transmission of sound; it’s Adrian Kniffley’s mode of expression, and as such, a tool to connect people through emotional storytelling. Besides the content of Adrian’s verses, which is powerfully descriptive, and the tone, which echoes the emotions of artist, the collage of sound that Adrian Kniffley constructs, with alliteration, metaphor, and multi-syllabic rhyme, is impeccable.
Most rappers can’t rap with the conviction nor the technical skill that Adrian does on tracks like, “Habitual” (Prod. SOTB), “When it’s On” (Prod. Damien Tomasso) and “Instinct” (Prod. Damien Tomasso). At the same time there is plenty of ear-catching and soul-sitting material here, which will captivate you long before the message does. The best of these include, “Just Chill” feat. Christina Marie (Prod. Crackdosja), “All Good” feat. Emmit Jay and “What We Like” ft. Rolo (Prod. Crackdosja).
Throughout “Authentic”, Adrian Kniffley beautifully illustrates the story-lines and delivers the lines as if he’s dictating what’s happening as it occurs. You can almost see the words floating around in the air, rearranging themselves until they make sense and culminate into clear pictures. The debate between mumble and lyrical rappers, no doubt, will continue. In the meantime settle down, turn up the volume and enjoy the true essence of a lyrical rapper.