Rochester, N.Y. rapper POUNDS continues his incredible run of releases with the Pee Wee Kirkland EP, a fantastically produced collection of hard-hitting and chilling street tales from one of underground hip-hop’s most talented voices. It also continues his streak of working with one producer for an entire project, which makes for an even more cohesive listen.
After teaming up with acclaimed West Coast producer Oh No for Borgata earlier this year, POUNDS linked with homegrown talent FITH for Pee Wee Kirkland. It’s fitting, of course, given the obvious nod to the New York basketball star-turned-drug kingpin on here. Kirkland actually serves as a narrator of sorts as he talks about his time in the game alongside POUNDS and his guests’ snarling verses on mafioso-rap burners like “Problem” (feat. Meyhem Lauren) and “Choices” (feat. CRIMEAPPLE).
That being said, POUNDS is clearly in narrative control throughout the EP, thanks in part to the most powerful weapon in his arsenal: that voice. It can make his enemies shiver in fear and his buddies die laughing within seconds. To that end, it’s worth noting that his perceived grim personality is more than capable of humor. Few emcees are capable of delivering threats laced with a Dave Coulier reference, but POUNDS of course makes it sound natural (and hilarious).
Where POUNDS most shines on Pee Wee Kirkland, though, is when he lets his guard down and opens up about his struggles. This is most evident on standout track “The Unforgiven,” a heart-wrenching cut about the ways his mother f*cked up his childhood years. His rhymes are akin to a raw wound, like when he says, “Mommy, why you let that man beat on me?/ Reason why I’m numb now and got the piece on me,” which is set to a gut-twisting beat from FITH.
Despite all of this, POUNDS has overcome and triumphed, and he makes this clear on the closing track “God,” which also boasts a great feature from Enox. “Used to the be the fat smelly kid/ Now I’m slicing lamb, mint jelly in the ‘Belly’ crib” is the perfect way to round out the EP, and it’s another reason why everyone needs more POUNDS in their life.
Pee Wee Kirkland is available now for stream and download via Bandcamp, and will hit your favorite streaming platforms soon!