In 2016, Chance The Rapper sparked the #SoGoneChallenge as a platform for independent artists to showcase their freestyle capabilities over Monica’s 2003 instrumental hit. While browsing this hashtag, I found 21-year-old Kelly Kel’s video and like many, it put him under our radar.

For Kelly Kel (born Marchell Hill), music became a creative outlet to express himself by uploading remixes to Soundcloud while listening to popular artists Lil’ Wayne and 50 Cent. He hopes his music and experiences relate to peers while providing a brighter future for his family.

Since this viral video, the humble Upland-based hip-hop artist recently dropped a 12-track project titled Liquid Courage. featuring soulful crooners Daelin Demar and Omari Shah.

“Baller” highlights the life and times of Kelly in Upland while jazzy-bop “Let’s Get Groovy” displays bouncy flows. He provides a contemporary, nonchalant masculine feel to Janet Jackson’s “I Get Lonely” before facing the repercussions in acoustic-led “Coastal”. Daelin Demar brings warm vocals to intensify empty promises and ulterior motives.

The project takes a technical turn with fire-freestyle “Bathroom Break” and bass led “Can’t Be Me”. Here we can see his potent wordplay and penmanship.”Show Me Love” acts as a brief intermission for bewildered “Wait on Me” and “WYD” feat. Omari Shah. As Kel wonders, Shah voices his reservations singing: “I hate it when you give me migraines / Is that how you feel? / I guess the times changed / You’ve been Top 5 since Myspace / I guess someone’s trying to take my place”.

 “Caught in the Moment” thrives on euphoric production as “Vibe Wit Me” chronicles carefree pastimes. Liquid Courage concludes with triumphant trumpet-infused “Movin’ On” where Kel comes to terms with himself and this situation.

KellyKel brings strong penmanship, versatile flows, and refreshing production to create a well-rounded project. “Let’s Get Groovy”, “I Get Lonely”, “Bathroom Break”  showcase his artistic strengths while other tracks prove to be tolerable. Kel tells engaging stories highlighting the pros and cons of Liquid Courage during times of uncertainty.

In the meantime, listeners can expect new music and content soon as Kel continues to build his digital presence. Follow KellyKel on Twitter and Instagram.

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