Depressing with the misogyny and the nigger-calling and the homophobia, yes. Goes without saying that they doth protest too much or somesuch. Hypermasculinity cuts both ways, eh? Goes without saying that I should stick my neck out and decide whether I like listening to this or not. In my heart of hearts I'd rather that they make the tunes, they cranked up the production and stopped spitting hate and anger. But how could they care about that?
Give it a few years and I'll have them safely tucked away in some nostalgia pocket, made them safe through my personal context in memory over-writing any distaste or discomfort I felt hearing them in the present time. I used to despise NWA for unleashing gangsta in the world; last year we played Warren G at my wedding disco. Que c'est que le diff? Is it racist, simple and plain?
Tyler, the Creator's "Bastard" is over a basic soulful piano loop with echoing Flash Gordon stabs: minimal, except for the self-pity. It's very Eminem; and there's talk of the Devil. That pops up a few times. (There is no Devil: take responsibility for yourself.) He is not that subtle lyrically ("Press my buttons, baby/Press my fucking buttons, baby/Bitch!"), but there's clouds of frozen cool blossoming below and around the words.
Jet Age of Tomorrow's two tracks are quite dreamy musically and I suppose the witch house crossover is rampant. "Welcome Home Son" especially pushes a few of my fucking buttons, bitch. Jet trails across the sky of my own bad conscience while some tiny robot warbles in each ear of the in-flight radio. Gigantijestic!
"Rolling Papers" and "Steamroller" swaggers around the idea of things rolling, I guess. And Domo Genesis (for it is he!) writes about the cheeba. Mike G's "King" orders you to stay out of his "secret garden"and celebrates murdering women. Hard to get over that, but behind there's a very simple keyboard line: so he's kind of ignorable twice over. I preferred his stuff in the Jungle Brothers.
MellowHype's "Bankrolls" says that hip hop is dead. If it has, it's died under the weight of this collapsing mudslide of Meh. Listening to someone counting their money would be better. Especially if it was with one of those machines. "Rok Rok" has some nice chat about brain halves, but is too dependent on a slow-moving bassline.
The last number, "They Say", has a far more Stevie Wonder feel (albeit Stevie in the K-Hole) and asks "Why don't they understand the only way to grow is with love?" It's not that hard to work out, is it? I feel some energy from the snap of their tunes; but I gravitate further towards Shabazz Palaces or Gonjasufi or TheeSatisfaction as soon as I start to think about it.
Oh and there are thirteen tracks. Those guys!
Rating: Despair/Joy out of Joy/Despair