Thursday, 31 August 2023

Album Review: Monkeyman by Kurious and Cut Beetlez




Kurious & Cut Beetlez


Following on from my recent review of the Monkeypox single (you can read that HERE), there was no way I was going to pass up the chance to review the album, Monkeyman.

Considering just how good Monkeypox was, it proved that Kurious (USA) teaming up with the Cut Beetlez (HP Lovescratch and DJ J-Man - Finland) was going to be, what was looking like, a dream Hip Hop collaboration between a legendary emcee and one of Hip Hop’s brightest up and coming Producer duos. Monkeyman also has features from Ceaz Da God, Yahzeed The Divine and Homeboy Sandman.

So, what I am going to do is not beat around the bush here and just get straight into the album…

 The Album kicks off with High Speeds, that has this heavy industrial sound, cut up to give it the vibe of a revving engine, before the beat drops with pounding drums and bass vibes, interspaced with these jazzy moments and more of that cut up revving engine sound. All this combined really helps to give you a musical interpretation of speed. Over this Kurious drops intricate lyrics that give the impression of speed without him seemingly drawing a breath. This makes it a challenge to follow what he is saying, making you want to listen over and over before you get to the point of simply enjoying what you hear without going too deep. The heavy pounding industrial feel sound continues on Hog Tied, which features Ceaz Da God. Mixed in with the heavy industrial vibe are these electronic sounds and some keys that bring this calming element that just seems to take the edge off the roughness of the sound. Kurious and Ceaz Da God drop these lyrics that really seem to reflect the struggles faced by underground artists trying to make it in life. There are no assurances or pension plans, just hurdles and negative judgments that a rapper is a gangster or a dealer; no one takes the time to understand where they grew up and how that affected how they are seen growing up and trying to make a name as a Hip Hop artist. Jazzy horns and heavy drums form the foundation of sound for Mint Leaves, giving this one some really energy. Yahzeed The Divine joins Kurious to lay down some mind-bending lyrics that spin tales from life that also have elements of contrast and the two sides to every coin or that so many people have a hidden side to their nature.

Next up is the single, Monkeypox, and I’ll give you my thoughts from the original review. Monkeypox has that experimental, funky jazz vibe that the Cut Beetlez are known for but, here the verses are all underpinned by this fusion of drums, keys, and bass, while the bridge between each verse brings in the horns and some furious cuts that spin you mind outta control. With all this in mind Kurious uses his slick and clever lyrical prowess to such good effect by delivering up-tempo flows of similes, metaphors and more, packed full of mind bending, witty lyricism that takes a few listens just to get a hold of. Now this might not be one of those tracks with hard-hitting story to get your mind working but, it is one of those tracks with the sort of lyrics and sound that just has a feel-good, get ya body moving, infectious vibe that gives you the sort of grin you just can’t hide. This is such a perfect slice of Jazz Hop fusion goodness that is perfect for keeping those summer parties rocking to the early hours. Monkey Scratch is the first of two instrumental, cut n paste style scratch tracks. Here we get treated to a funny little story about the monkeyman, over which the Cut Beetlez provide a classic Hip Hop head nod style track with more cuts that you can shake a stick at or eat a banana to. This is followed up by Monkey Scratch II, which continues that cut n paste style sound mixed with plenty of cuts and jazzy elements. This time the focus is more on Kurious and mixed in with the monkeyman vibe; it’s just the kinda track you wanna nod ya head and bounce to, because the Cut Beetlez don’t give you time to think here but, just to enjoy yourself.

As we move into the second half of the album, it’s time for the Monkeyman Theme. Here the multi-layered jazz sound takes you down into the cellar where the smoky jazz club is in full swing. You get into the groove of the sound being laid down by the Cut Beetlez on stage while Kurious steps up to the mic dropping lyrics in both English and his native tongue, speaking on all the elements of the monkeyman’s mind, which just goes to prove there is more to monkeyman than meets the eye. Now you’re down here in the jazz club, there is no need to move out your seat as horns and bass keep the place rocking and the Cut Beetlez and Kurious lift the Pointy Fingers at the crowd. The upbeat nature of the sound keeps the energy levels up as Kurious explains exactly what it’s all about. So, many are quick to point their fingers, forming judgements and laying blame on others but, don’t think to look at themselves and question why they are laying the blame in the first place. Next we find drums and piano as the main elements of the sound on Magnetic, where Homeboy Sandman joins Kurious on stage. This one is all about the magnetic nature of things and how they attract one thing to another. That magnetic force that pulls or repels is reflected by the Cut Beetlez in the almost nerve tingling sound of the bridge, which seems to have a musical representation of that invisible force.

Time To Boogie brings the cymbals to the forefront over a what seems to be a muted drum beat but, this sound allows more focus on the vocals. Here Kurious seems to be saying that in life people are often too serious, taking things literally and not taking the time to look beyond what is right in front them; there is definitely a lot to be said for not taking this personally and remembering to always make time to have fun and boogie. Moving to the final track of the album, Whiskey All You Want has this drum beat over which is a nerve tingling piano sound that is almost at odds with the vocals as always there are also some additional elements mixed in just to keep you’re ears and you head focused. Kurious pours us a generous measure of the golden lyrical goodness, having the same effect on our ears that has as a drink, burning its way into our awareness, the more you drink, or listen, the more of an effect it has on your mind. I can’t think of a better way to round off the album than to sit back and let Kurious bring his single malt lyrics to the table. I mean, whiskey all you want or listen all you want, here it’s the same thing…


You just have to sit back and take five after listening to this album…

That’s in order to process what you just heard. Let’s face it there are two elements here right, as with any album, the lyrics and the music, so why not just look at them both individually first…

Musically, the Cut Beetlez, who are always pushing the boundaries of mixing Hip Hop and Jazz music, fusing their sound with a growing repertoire of influences and sounds which they use to great effectiveness when providing the backdrop to any musical project, be it a single, album or EP, and here they demonstrate that expert experimental quality to great effect; using the Hip Hop and Jazz sound as the base, they bring in sonic and electronic elements, and cuts, of course, to create a sound that is quickly becoming their own. You sit for hours just picking over their sound and the various elements but, in the end what they do is to use everything in their growing production armoury to bring a sound that is unique to every project they are a part of. Without a doubt, Cut Beetlez are quickly becoming one of these go to names for Hip Hop production, especially if you want something with a little edge to it.

Lyrically Kurious brings a quality that always make you think and think again when you are listening to his words. Every line and verse is packed with intelligent, witty and intense use of metaphoric wordplay, that is delivered in such a way as to not only leave you breathless but, also has you listening over and over again to try and catch every word, thinking that you can ably interpret what is being delivered but, sometimes its just not possible you have sit back and think, I’m just gonna enjoy what I’m listening to because that is exactly what seems that Kurious is putting across here. He does reflect a lot of what he sees around him in life but, he puts it across in such a way as to make it entertaining and, at the same time, stretch the possibilities of just how you can put a message across to the listener. He has to be one of the great wordsmiths out there right now.

Before I get off the topic of the Vocals, it is important to give a shout to the guest artists. Most of you will be familiar with Homeboy Sandman but, you may not be so familiar with Ceaz Da God, Yahzeed The Divine, however, after their appearances on Monkeyman you’ll want to remember those names. All three bring their own unique styles to the album and all add that extra depth, perfectly complimenting the overall style of the album.

So, what does this all mean when we look at Monkeyman in an overall sense, what it does mean is that Monkeyman takes the fusion of Hip Hop and Jazz, throws the rule book out the window and rewrites it and says here is a project that you can listen to anywhere and everywhere; that is never gonna get old and never cease to bring you enjoyment. In fact, once you have listened to this top to bottom, there is a little voice in your head that says this is one of those instant classic Hip Hop albums, and it’s a classic because it brings something new to the table and raises the bar for those that follow. It’s also one of those that’s hard to get out your head too…

Monkeyman is released through Weaponize Records and is available on digital and limited-edition vinyl from the 1st September.

My thanks to DJ J-Man and HP Lovescratch for giving me the chance to give this one the review treatment. Respect to Kurious and Weaponize Records too.


On that note,

I’m out,



Weaponize Records Links:

Kurious Links:

Cut Beetlez Links:


Monkeypox Official Video

Magnetic Official Video

Whiskey All You Want





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