In the blink of an eye, rapper K-Riz knew he was either at the final moments of his life or being handed an opportunity to forge a new one.
With so many reasons to sit up and take notice of The Room, the latest EP from Edmonton-based rapper K-Riz, there’s one brief moment on the song “A Place Where Love Is” that had me scrolling back playing it over and over. Seconds before the soulful ballad fades out, K-Riz sings/speaks lyrics that resonate with sincerity: “This Earth does not belong to us / We belong to it / If humanity dies, the Earth still stands / Make sure you contribute something while you’re still here.”
Though the sentiment is far from revelation, K-Riz’s declaration comes from a place of personal experience and a renewed sense of purpose. In June 2020, a car accident left his spine shattered without damaging his brain. During his six-month recovery, K-Riz and producer JDats created The Room, a record whose title references the physical space where these songs first took shape and the interior space and time K-Riz was afforded for reflection post-accident. The resulting five-song cycle is delivered with clarity and precision, the work of an artist determined to contribute a work of art and a message of hope to the world with the extra time he’s been afforded.
A confessional K-Riz bears his soul throughout “What A Shame”, lamenting a lost relationship and the hand he played in its demise: “I wish I was there in the times when you needed my love / I couldn’t be everything that you needed / I couldn’t be all that I said I was… Crazy to think all you wanted was time with me / so stuck in my life I was blind to see / too focused on I’s instead of we’s.” The same kind of hindsight marks “A Place Where Love Is”, featuring silky verses by Calgary singer Yolanda Sargeant and stylish piano. The stunning closer “God First” is a mesmerizing coda on K-Riz’s extra-terrible 2020. Infused with the golden horn work of Octavio Santos, it is a testament to the human will and creative spirits: “Learning how to walk again / And I’m thanking God often ‘cause all of this could have been worse / Blessed to be breathing and not dead in a hearse.”
As he says in “God First” in the blink of an eye, K-Riz knew he was either at the final moments of his life or getting an opportunity to forge a new one. It was never a given that he’d be able to walk or talk, let alone sing again, but in the time and space where he and JDat’s crafted The Room, K-Riz found his voice, his calling, and a place where love is capable of miracles.