On his website, Mod Sun describes his music as “putting the feeling of being happy to sound”. To dispute this would be incredibly difficult, since more than enough evidence exists to support the premise on his new mixtape, Blazed by the Bell (intro by the real Mr. Belding). As “Get Up” begins and the samples begin to loop with professional precision, Mod Sun begins to talk about how great it is to have an 88 keys beat. Shocked by this, I notice that it is 88 keys and have a flashback. In Hip Hop, being a hippy was always thought of as something shameful. In this sense, the community defines itself next to Heavy Metal or Punk Rock: concepts could be intended to show glimpses of happiness, but only in an overall bleak and intimidating world. Hip hop was listening to Cypress Hill in your parent’s cold garage, watching your breath as you lip synched.
Mod Sun really doesn’t care about this. On “Mentality 2 Reality” he proclaims mid-first verse “I can’t find a single thing that’s not fun,” and he means it. He embraces the stigma with songs like “Tye Dye Everything” and “Woodstock Forever” – no apologies are given. The Mod Sun sound is mind bending in its commitment to bounce and fun. Instrumentals like “Windows Down, Never Coming Down”, “Modern Sunshine”, and “Chain Gang” are just as splashy, bright, and outrageous as their MC. All but “Modern Sunshine” are produced by JCW & Siegel-Stoner, and these are easily the catchiest songs on the 17 track voyage. This list doesn’t even make space for the last track “Home” which combines the power of whistling, Skylar Stonestreet’s crooning, and horns. The pace this tape moves at can be taxing and the guest stars are surprising. Nipsey Hussle brings his pure 90’s gangsta mystique to “What’s Ya Life Like?” making you wonder how collaboration like that happened. This is California Hip-Hop right now. It’s bubbling over with talent coming from all different directions, and some people who might not have been accepted a few years ago enjoy a more open space. In “Take the Credit Imma Keep the Change” he addresses this “Old heads want to hit me with opinions/ I’m like go head then get back to how I’m living.”
Since Mod Sun is never down, he is always up and this limits his subject matter. He is smoking weed, or enjoying sunshine, but strife never finds its way in and without conflict it gets hard to tell a story. Mod Sun is a heck of an experience, but not really a great MC since his subject is so sincerely one dimensional. These songs are epic enough to make him the 3 Dog Night of Hip Hop, but if that is a limit he is comfortable with, I will listen. After all who can argue with fun?
You can download Blazed By The Bell at the link below.