by Dan O
When Hakim raps “I been a God, just look how I create.” near the end of Runaway Slave its an important moment in 2022 music. The EP Sleepy Drift is a collaboration between Hakim and Sleep Sinatra meant to push each party as far as they can in the fifteen minutes it lasts. Of the six songs present Runaway Slave is their greatest achievement in pursuit of that mission and one of the truly priceless moments of the year.
Hakim is on a mission throughout. No hooks and no interest in becoming the rapper fantasy you desire. On Chef’s Kiss he says “never been a cliché” and that’s important. Every second you spend with Hakim is about something and Sleep Sinatra knows that mission well.
As a producer Sleep has been twisting and smashing beautiful sounds into cracked pieces that glimmer in a brand new equally beautiful way. You can hear that on DIVINENATION. Runaway Slave is the high point of this process. John Coltrane would applaud taking this classic melody (#NOSAMPLESNITCHING) and cutting it into chunks letting it become familiar only to surprise, taking on stabs and skipping for a few moments until reset.
As this arrangement falls into place, destroys itself and reforms Hakim does the same thing within the verse. He succumbs only to overcome, mighty then fearful, starved hungry then overwhelmed. It might not seem completely cohesive but it’s perfectly so. It’s perfectly the guts of the human experience “Money low, pockets fat. Up and down, front to back. Falling off, back on track.” It makes more sense every day.
(Sleepy Drift is on streaming but I wanted to post a link to the song all could access)