The below quote in from David Foster Wallace and Mark Costello’s Signifying Rappers, a discussion on hip hop and race, as well as a thorough criticism of rapidly changing, turn of the century media forms. I felt it was probably more worthwhile than the brief commentary I was going to plaster here instead.
You may now be getting some hazy idea of the sorts of really quite scary possibilities with which the rap we like is replete. And, hazier, of how complicated this stuff of sampler-from-outside can be. What’s remained passing strange, for use, is the vague threat’s appeal. The unease and ambivalence with which the rare white at the window loves rap renders that love no less love. Whence the fear, though, is really no matter. For look at the world, at the masses we’re part of. At what you look at closest. The plain 80s data is that, whereas love, devotion, passion seem only to divide, it’s fear and strangeness that bind crowds, fill halls, unite Us, somehow, as audience, under the great tent.
As distraught as it makes me, the majority of the hip hop listening populace holds a certain disdain for the instrumental tape. In my opinion, this is because a lack of respect for the production side of the bidness, but it’s also because instrumental tapes are so often monotonously clunky. Despite these reservations, the instrumental tape is exactly where Pennsylvanian LyteSho excels. The Chainsaw EP, LyteSho’s fifth release of 2012, is yet another fastidious release from the 19 year old Wilkes-Barre resident. Coming in at just under 16 minutes, the tape is long enough to give you a taste of the direction the young producer is moving without boring you with the asinine details. A remix of Shlohmo’s “Birthday Beat” breaks the tape up nicely, without breaking the flow. Chainsaw is not a mixtape, but moves in enough of a quietly controlled manner that it might as well be. LyteSho removes some of the sticky gauze that has both aided and weighed down previously releases, resulting in a more clear-eyed, down to earth product. The EP is probably his most true to form collection of straight up hip hop beats. Like all of his previous releases, Chainsaw is available for free on Bandcamp. Stream and download below.
Since we started this blog back in January, there have been several artists that have caught our eye and really stuck with us. Pennsylvania producer Lytesho is one of the brightest of those. Lytesho makes scuzzy hip hop beats that are often accompanied by the droning vocals that “witch house” artists like Salem have become known before. They are as hazy and psychedelic as they are boom bap-y. Like most talented artists, Lytesho has associated himself with other talented artists. Senzu Collective is a group of experimental hip hop producers and MC’s from across the United Sates pushing the boundaries of the genre. Like so many other crews/collectives of our time they love their symbols, ∆∆∆ in this case, and while that imagery is overwrought at this point, it is more of a sign of their internet savvy than their youthful naiveté. In October 2011, Senzu began a monthly compilation series featuring members of collective as well as artists from elsewhere. Knxwledge, Giraffage and RL Grime have all been featured in the past as have other members of wedidit, Dropping Gems, Resonate and other highly touted labels/collectives. A few days ago, the sixth edition of the compilation was released, and like usual, it includes a truly unique blend of disparate elements of hip hop. UK bass music and the LA beat scene are prevalent on numerous tracks as are the recent alternative R&B explorations of The Weeknd, Jamie Woon and Miguel. The tape is inconsistent as a cohesive product, but compilations, especially monthly ones, aren’t necessarily meant to be cohesive. Instead, it serves as an update containing what Senzu and friends are working on and the direction their sound is moving. Find past compilation tapes at the collective’s Tumblr.
Lytesho! aka Charles Amara is back with another tape. The Wilkes-Barre, PA native caught our attention last month with his promising Concept of Space EP. Over the weekend, Amara released his third tape, Two/Six, a collection of beats and instrumentals. Two/Six shows a marked improvement over his past two efforts and is the young artists most cohesive work to date. The tape starts off with haunting vocals and a sample of what sounds like talk radio. Maybe Amara drew inspiration from Exile’s Radio project, or gasp, maybe even LL Cool J’s classic album. “Metal Ox” and “Neon Smoke” are the highlights, but the tape is at its best when listened to from start to finish.