Stuff you've never heard and "Fuck A Record Company"
You’ve probably heard of two of the “indie” hip-hop artists below, even if, at the moment, they’re bypassing trad distribution models and just giving away their music. The other two acts are from the Washington-Baltimore area, on a young label called FARC (short for “Fuck A Record Company”).
Mathpanda, “Bitter Taste”
The first line rhymes “devastation” with “administration,” so you know what kind of lyrics you’re in for. The beat is huge dollops of bass and rumbling distorted synths, more liquid than solid, as if the instrumental had been put to tape and the tape had been cooked for a minute or two in an oven.
C-Rex, “All You Thugs”
Off the Rex Erection LP, “All You Thugs” mis-starts with acoustic-guitar picking and a prissy squeezebox before moving into the least thuggish synth lick and C-Rex’s genre-imploding lyrics — “butt-crack fiend, I was raised a freak.” C-Rex is self-depreciating and parodic but — this is rare — not at all annoying.
Cam’Ron, “Just Us”
Cam breaks a year-plus silence with, among others on his new Public Enemy #1 mixtape, a song that samples Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” This is a weird and loaded choice, especially after The Sopranos just ended its season with it, but this is Cam’Ron we’re talking about. He’s tender enough to get a woman to confess her life story and all her problems, twisted enough that afterward he “started to sanchez her . . . yes the dirty one.”
Saul Williams, “WTF”
The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust is Williams’s full-album collabo with Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor, which they made available for free a few weeks ago à la Radiohead. Williams boasts that same effortless soul-butter delivery, and it tempers Reznor’s industrial hip-hop groove: mile-wide synths, skittering drum machines, haunting piano figures.
, Saul Williams
, Trent Reznor