Traffic. Every day there seems to be an increase on streets and highways. I lived and breathed NYC for the better part of my life, born and raised loving the varied culture. That is until I chose desert landscapes where I thought the expanse will give me a bit of breathing room and allowing me to escape the monotony of such a dense city. I’m encountering more and more east coast denizens every day and while I don’t mind, bro, stay in ya lane. Sometimes I find myself elbow to elbow with people relocating here. WTF happened to outsiders moving to Brooklyn? They’re pushing them out into the burning sands (or dirt) that I call my neighborhood. I just need some elbow room. Everything I wrote here has absolutely nothing to do with what follows, just about like every other week but life isn’t always about music is it? Of course, it is!
This week though, it’s all Hip-Hop though as the plethora of independent music drops and we’re not inundated with Drake tracks fighting for top stops with song challenges (although seeing that one guy hit by a car was pretty hilarious.) I’m unable to pick out anything that I favor over another, but that’s a good thing.
Everyone knows Antipop Consortium was all about pushing boundaries, and as the individual members M. Sayyid, BEANS, and High Priest a/k/a HPRIZM have broken off to experiment and explore new realms of sound manipulation, dissonance, marred with lyricism, noise and anything else they want to experiment with, you know you’re bound to encounter something just above amazing. And so it begins again as HPRIZM’s latest output, Catching A Body (Don Giovanni), is the new opus in his music catalogue. I think I just gave it away there but no matter, I’ll tell you why. For this new release, HP creates fluidity within his musical landscapes that easily drift off and return with hard edges, and back again. They’re ocean waves crashing alongside stones weathered by time, but still capable of obliterating anything that crosses its path. What’s surprising yet expected with Catching A Body is the lack of vocals. Tracks like “I’ll Find You” with its heavy beat, light scratches, and keystrokes; or the sonic wall of “Three Piece” could easily find vocalists fitting through them but it would distract from what’s occurring here: SONIC BLISS! But I have to refer back to the opening “Knitted Crown,” and even “Touba,” for creative extractions that lift spirits into Neverland-like worlds, conjuring up varied imagery with every listen. Things get stranger, better and exotic as HP takes listeners into uncharted territory with “Dark Liquor,” with repetition being the factor that allows the track to haunt one’s very dreams. But the heavy bass witchcraft of “Protection Spell” brings the nightmares to the surface. Yes, his genius combining the percussive beats with the intertwining electronics makes this one a classic for the ages. Where does this leave HPRIZM? Well, Catching A Body should leave him listed as the creative juggernaut we all knew he was. Facts.
I’ve been following Miss Eaves for a minute now, and by that, I really do mean just a minute, as in a few months. What you hear with Eaves sometimes pulls you away from reality and that’s what we all need on occasion. She’s just released her new EP, ME AF and you just have to take her as she is: left of center, fuck-outta-here attitude, and doing shit the way she wants to. One thing Eaves does is embrace her own differences that she’s aware some may be put off by but you know, no fucks are really given. The Brooklyn rapper takes her music in a different direction altogether, and you get that just in “Paper Mache (Single AF)” where the focus Miss Eaves addresses, is on her own solitude over a menacing yet hypnotic beat. Seems her subject matters throughout ME AF don’t deviate from being personal descriptives of who and what she is. “Bye Felipe” she bids farewell to an uncaring lover on a dense yet sparse beat (figure that one out) that seems to take a lead from odd 90’s Hip-Hop flavoring. This one right here burns hot! And on “Weird AF” Eaves embraces the strangeness within, and just like I mentioned with lyrics, “I’m a rebel, on another level / they can’t solve me, I’m a riddle / a little off, I know I’m kinda weird / I give zero fucks, no fear.” I called that shit right there. But it’s her single “Bush For The Push” where she gives a little more insight on her personal, um, image. She questions what she should do with her “hair down there,” pondering the different styles of grooming? Yeah, she goes there, and it’ll have you wondering WTF! But it’s all good, it’s not senseless, it’s the question women, and men, ask themselves. In the end, ME AF will have you questioning if you fucks with Miss Eaves or don’t. Make your choice because if you don’t, it’s not going to affect her. She’ll be cool with it because she’s doing her own thing, kicking it her own way. Yessir, she got that black girl magic.
Unexpected releases are usually the best to listen to because they come as a surprise. It’s like a Gump adage which I refuse to quote. In this case, it’s the self-titled release by Nostrum Grocers (The Order Label), the collaborative effort between Milo and Elucid, two poetic wordsmiths whose underground notoriety has taken flight past that of so many of their contemporaries. The sound they create doesn’t stray far from the path both emcees normally walk on, unless you’re focused on the vehemence against the opposition they both hold here, against a system that entraps those without the means to escape it. From the get-go, “Circumcision Is The First Betrayal” initially releases all the angst they hold within. There’s an understanding of a war going on outside. Listen, Repeat, Listen, Repeat; they hold truth within words, dissecting and piecing together words as only they’re able to. “Milk Drunk” isn’t as irate as words bounce in an abstract fashion and flow freely over a distant throbbing beat before connecting closely. It’s the beats Nostrum Grocers use here that sometimes seems on the brink of falling apart in slow motion like on “Medium,” creating a tension both emcees simply ignore while doing their own thing. It’s that same feel on “Thermometer” and “Walter Hudson” but words are oblivious to it, or rather impervious, and wrap words around one another as both Elucid and Milo volley off one another. The altered state of Nostrum Grocers’ release will leave you wondering what the hell they pieced together here, but will leave you curious enough to repeat the cycle all over again. And again. And again. And again.