• Stew Mitchell

Stakes & ¡kylkenny! Team Up For ¡kylstakes!

By the time Stakes drops an album, he’s usually well on his way to finishing the next one.

Stakes, a breakout force in the UK hip-hop scene, doesn't stop pushing. Constantly experimenting, his discography reflects his influences and ideas in the current- the now. ¡kylstakes! is no exception, coming only 2 months after the rapper’s previous album, ADHD4K. The Halloween-themed collaborative tape with ¡kylkenny!, also known as Kenny Kottonmouth, could not have come at a better time, however.

After meeting through The Neverending Mixtape's breakout single JAWS!, Stakes and Kenny immediately connected over their mutual proclivity for musical chaos. Kenny, hailing from Texas, was just as hungry as Stakes to create, and they both would not let the time zone difference or difficulty of collaborating strictly online deter them from achieving their goal. The focus of the tape, Halloween, was a perfect way to "give a firm deadline to two artists who are usually hard to pin down," said Stakes. The fruits of their labor became ¡kylstakes!, a project entirely produced, mixed, and mastered by Stakes, completed mere days before release to streaming services.

¡kylstakes!'s themes are felt immediately from the opener, sunset ritual. A haunting chant and rhythmic drum beat devolves into distorted 808s bouncing from ear to ear along with Stakes' backing adlibs. The mixture between Kenny and Stakes' almost cartoonish explosion of sound compounds into a perfect climax, setting up the rest of the album as what can only be described as the theme song to running away from an axe murderer through the English countryside.

The duo clicks much better than expected, their chemistry boiling down to both artists' ability to critique each other during the creation process and craft a cohesive soundscape. "The whole process was made easier because of our open-mindedness," says Stakes. "On multiple tracks, we recorded multiple verses, telling each other to 'fix this, change that.'"

¡kylstakes! marks the first official collaborative project between the two rising stars, but it is not likely to be the last. “If it’s a spooky day, then we might always pop back up," grins Stakes, while putting the finishing touches on one of his many other upcoming releases.

Listen to ¡kylstakes! now on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, or wherever else you get music.

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