Located just over an hour east of the widely known rap hub of Atlanta, Athens houses a tight-knit hip hop community. You’ve probably never been to an Athens hip hop show, so allow me to fill you in on what happens at such an event. A crowd of mostly locals trickles in. The music begins with a respected DJ doing what he does best. Brave attendees make their way past the merch tables to the front as the evening’s MC introduces acts one at a time. A diverse bill affords attendees time to grab drinks between lyrical and melodic sets. But as the night wears down, the announcement of one name always makes the bartenders stop pouring and pulls the smokers inside. It’s that of 20-year-old Kxng Blanco.
With live shows on hold, Blanco’s new album Summers on Sarsen will have to take the place of his energetic stage presence. The project’s opening track, “Deddy,” would almost certainly top his setlist. Nicknamed ‘Kxng of the Youth,’ Blanco weaves in and out of up-tempo beats in a fashion that draws comparisons to the swiftly upcoming generation of rappers like NLE Choppa, Polo G, and Stunna 4 Vegas. Incidentally, the album includes a must-listen freestyle over Stunna’s “Do Dat” beat. Blanco tells me he likes to throw at least one remix on all his projects. His version of 50 Cent’s “Many Men” follows 8 tracks later.
Summers On Sarsen follows 2019’s Skee Yee! and LvrBoy, carefully combining the brightest qualities of the former projects. Besides testing your speakers with songs like “Deddy,” “Clark Kent,” and “Get Even,” Blanco taps into his emotional side with “Dese Days” and “Pain n’ Sufferin’.” Fellow Athens rappers Squalle, Drii Gotti, and Lil Kell make appearances as well.
At 18 tracks, Summers On Sarsen is undoubtedly Blanco’s best work to date. And as his track record indicates, we might be lucky enough to hear more from the Kxng of the Youth before 2020 concludes.