ALBUM REVIEW

Kid Sensation

Rollin’ with Number One

Released July 1990

Rollin’ with Number One by Kid Sensation is an essential Seattle hip-hop classic. Released on Nastymix Records in 1990, it predates “big butts” by a couple of years, but contains all the DNA of that era, it’s a joy to listen to, and the cover will have you plotting your next beach fire at Golden Gardens. Opener “Seatown Ballers” is a perfect anthem for a proud new Seattle, celebrating strength and community and rising above adversity. The song also, surprisingly, samples both Public Enemy and Beastie Boys tracks that were more-or-less contemporaries of this record, which is a ballsy choice. (Imagine, for example, a new Dave B project liberally sampling both “DAMN” and Childish Gambino…) Of course, almost 30 years on, this touch only adds to my love and nostalgia. Other deft samples include movie lasers, a heart-rate monitor, and the infamous “funky drummer,” which appears across multiple songs. I genuinely love the Bomb Squad-style production and wax collage on display here. Indeed, it’s mostly Sir Mix-A-Lot himself on the beats, hanging up his microphone for the producer role. The drums on standout “Legal” pierce your synapses at unexpectedly pleasant times. Sir Mix picks up the mic for a featured verse on Depeche Mode-sampling closer, “Partners in Rhyme.” But it’s very much Kid Sensation who’s the star here, dominating 12 tracks with a smooth, speedy bullet train cadence on tracks like “Flowin’” alongside town references to Rainier and Seward and more. I only recently found out that Kid Sensation is still actively making hip-hop in Seattle, now operating under the name Xola Malik, but still putting out feel-good rap. Go listen to this record on Spotify today.

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