Born in Austin, Texas in 1991 and moving to Louisiana in 1997, Kayo Kano, who has also gone by the alias, “Tha Real Young Kano,” is one of those artists who stays steadily involved in his community, and writes lines that speaks to the younger generation, with an emphasis on encouraging them to prosper and strive for greatness. He is a student of the game, which I cannot say enough good things about. His passion for music began early for him, starting when he was only 10 years old with an immediate appreciation for hip hop. He started at this young age freestyling off the dome and eventually would move on to writtens at the age of 14. He transitioned from writtens into the cutthroat world of battle rap where he claims he was undefeated. He transitioned again when he moved to Thibodaux, Louisiana in 2003, when his life took on a 180-degree switch from the battle scene as he began to focus on school and writing rhymes again, this time with a positive message. This flip from battle rhymes to motivational lines couldn’t be more juxtaposed, but he seems to have a way with inspiring people.
His recent single, “Right Now,” follows suit with his motivational platform. This song reminds me a lot of 21 Savage’s latest hit song, “A Lot” with a similar vibe to the beat that Kayo made for his song, and also a very similar tonality in the delivery of his rhymes, which follows a similar cadence to that of 21 Savages in “A Lot.” One interesting distinction between the two songs is that 21 Savage has a darker side that he explores in his rhymes, detailing the hardships he’s overcome, and bringing forth an inspiring sentiment as a result of those stories. However, in “Right Now,” Kayo seems to be speaking to those who might find themselves in the same situations he was once in, and giving them messages of hope and fortitude, inspiring them by relating to them, and then by speaking to them with wisdom and encouragement. The repeating hook response “Right Now” plays on several different meanings of the words. The hook in this song goes, “Right now, I do it right now/ cuz I’m in a situation couldn’t lose right now/ I’m the truth cuz my voice will be heard right now/ I’mma preach to you clowns the real word right now/ Right now I do it right now/ cuz I’m in a situation couldn’t lose right now” as if he is answering the unspoken question, “why now?”. Kayo seems to be saying here, that he has a platform now for saying things in his songs that will reach other people, and he wants to use that platform for good. “Right Now” also seems to be playing on the sentiment that if you’re going to dream about being something someday, don’t wait. The time to do it is right now. The song also plays on a second meaning of the phrase “right now,” in the verse, where he repeats “right now” at the ends of most of the lines, much like 21 Savage does with “a lot,” serving as a pseudo adlib much in the same regard, and amounting to a satisfying set of repetitions. The third meaning that the phrase plays on in the verses is the idea that the situations the audience might be facing are temporary in nature, and that, these problems they’re having are not forever, they’re just right now.
View this post on Instagram
The beat for this song is actually the only thing I have any pointed criticism on, and I should start by saying there is nothing wrong with the beat in and of itself. The production for this song, also done by Kayo Kano, was well done, with a pleasing arpeggiated lead, with trilling keys repeating high notes and clapping drums that sit on top the mix. Still, the downtempo vibes provide the song with a pleasant atmospheric type effect, that suits a nostalgic kind of mood or an introspective attitude. When it comes to this song’s beat, I can see what Kayo was going for. It’s very similar, as I said, to the vibe in 21 Savage’s beat, and 21 Savage’s song was a huge success. However, if 21 was still an underground artist, I don’t think he would have gotten as much of a response to a song like “A Lot” as he did once he was already famous and succeeding in the mainstream. With Kayo’s \ downtempo beat, and his subdued vocal stylings, along with a positive message (which is lovely, but maybe not the most exciting subject matter), he has made a track which would serve him well if he already had some mainstream success, but as it stands now, it runs the risk of being overlooked.
Kayo Kano is nothing if not deserving of our attention. He has done the work to support the skillset that he has, and he has his heart and his mind in the right place. This is a good song, but with the influx of new artists online all competing for a few spots in the game, Kayo needs to add some interest or excitement to his songs, either vocally or in his beats. With the kind of enduring spirit and perseverance that Kayo has, and that he tries to impart on his listeners, I’m sure eventually he could break through, even with this type of song. But hip hop doesn’t need someone like him eventually. We need someone like him now. Right now, to be exact.