June 1, 2016
Yeah I don't have some clever overarching theme this time, just a quick roundup some nice fucking records which done dropped. Some of 'em are from April or earlier, but fuck I look like? Wolf Blitzer?
No doubt, the Griselda family most definitely on top this year, from Westside Gunn's Flygod on out. Fifty tracks is too many for any mixtape, but there's some supremely ill joints on Conway's drop--'Anybody,' 'Rex Ryan,' 'Red Tops' are a few.
Don't Get Scared Now is a 6 song EP version of the posse cut, but most of all highlights Daringer's supremely on point production. That 'Chyna' joint gets five Cool J uuhhhhhhs.
This record is for guys like me who are so old, we're beyond washed, we're stonewashed. We're faded and frayed. We're so old, our wife takes our shit out the laundry and puts it in the garbage, and we go dig it out because we still like wearing it. If rap was a person it'd be in its early 40s, and this record is aged just right. It's smart, literate, namechecking Three Times Dope and Chekhov and Home Depot. The beats are sludgy and deep but move the crowd. It's a little bit angry, a little bit weary, a little bit Old Man Yells At Cloud, but it's also funny as hell.
The one part I don't like though, is that shit about jacking off to Anne Hathaway, because damn son, really? I don't need to know that shit.
This record is fucking hilarious. I don't usually go for stuff that's just funny, but this is a spoof of your party/trap/hip-pop bullshit, except with more cheesecake and putting stuff up your butt and chest hair. Even at 12 tracks the joke doesn't wear out.
Third Sight have been rolling in their lane for longer than I knew--I thought they came up in the post-Jux underground explosion era but Orchids & Corpses is four-track jams from '93-'96?! Some of it, you can hear how they're riffing on that era, but a lot of it is some serious next level shit for 20 years ago.
Dufunk, the legendary D-Styles and other producers bring in sometimes superlative, sometimes just serviceable beats; MC Roughneck Jihad is the main event here. Jihad is a superb writer. His level of vocab, combos and wordplay is top shelf. Truth to be told, he's the only example of a rapper who's writing is better than his delivery--he can rap, but you're not there for his voice or flow. It's all about the words.
Blueprint's another one of those underground legends who's been steadily grinding for over a decade, piling up great records and sticking to it. I've always felt he was a better producer by a hair than an MC, so it's interesting to hear him rock an album over someone else's beats--and even more interesting when all of them come from Aesop Rock. Role switching on some Face/Off shit.
Giving the reins over allows Print to make the whole EP one story--something he excels at--and it comes together most strong on the last two tracks. This is his best record in a few years by my count.
I fuck with Aes but was never a major stan. But no doubt this is another solid LP from the man, and his self-production (you're headed for self-production) is pretty damn tight. Definitely has more tracks than usual that are personal, narrative-driven and focused which is an interesting shift for the dude who's specialized in major level abstraction to date. So we get a joint about therapy, one about his cat I think, one about his brothers, and one about getting older. The rest is what we expect and come to the table for, the eighty million words crammed into three minute songs that go by so fast every time you hear a juicy rhyme or arresting image he's already busted fifty more. He said something about a flying saucer that was cool and then...he said something about tomatoes and then...dude is like Rap Game Roadrunner Mouth. So. Many. Syllables.
Maybe it's just me but it's almost kinda...quaint? He's still rocking this style, the word salad and idea blizzard that defined a very specific era of rap which is now well and truly past. Aesop Rock records have come to have a kinda throwback feel, like a Kane show in Vegas or something. With Aes it's almost...Amish--that level of craft, in an age where kids just jack a beat off YouTube and get a hit single. Like, oh, he's caning his own chair. He's bottling honey from his own hives. He's sewing his wife a bonnet or some shit. Nobody knows how to do that anymore in the modern world. But it's also totally removed from the rest of things. I don't know, it's still a good record. Buy his honey.
Anyways I had enough of this monthly bloggedy-blogging experiment probably, come back in December for the year-end roundup.