Brooklyn based producer Ezra Rubin is better known as Kingdom, initially breaking out in 2013 as an executive producer on alternative R&B musician Kelela’s debut mixtape Cut 4 Me.
His own debut album Tears in the Club is a space for any which being who is sensitive and in tune with their emotions, but alas, still out here living. Tears in the Club is broadly pensive and deeply introspective, but on the other hand — EVERY song is a banger. Kingdom refuses to limit fervent, intense emotion to slow dreary sounds and instead chooses to make it a party.
On first of three SZA collabs ‘What is Love’ (there’s a sneaky hidden one on ‘Into the Fold’ btw), SZA dreamily contemplates endearment while various repetitive ‘back it up’ and triumphant hollering samples sound off in the back of the otherwise minimalistic beat. Kingdom constructs a contrast that makes you forget all about SZA’s goose bump inducing words until her emotive “break it down, f*** it up, now I see what is love” hook ensures a slap right in the feelings.
Kingdom is an enigma switching erratically between contemporary hip hop/R&B club bedazzlers and his own subgenre of brooding, sinister electronic texturing. His collaborations almost always lie with the R&B background though, and on this album he’s accompanied by R&B blossomers Syd and SZA, as well as rising rapper Shacar on features.
Tears in the Club is honest and profound without being pretentious; production that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve… Crying in the club never looked so lit.