One of the ways we can take some of the punch out of our extreme internet-style value judgements is to switch our thinking up. When #Bandcampfriday comes on 03/04 you have a certain amount of money to spend, think of yourself like a sports franchise preparing for the draft. It’s not about which players on the board are bad its about getting the best talent on the board as well as finding the right fit for what you naturally gravitate to. Let me share the strengths of my picks and what they bring to my team:
Old Grape God-HOME [sic]
First things first this album is a steal at this cost. It’s priced at $4.44 at 12 songs over 32 minutes. By song 5 that money is more than well spent(this one comes out swinging). In terms of what this album brings to your queue: this is album 34 in the career of Portland, Oregon’s Old Grape God who is extremely confident in a vision that is so left field you won’t find anything like this sonic experience. Not only is OGG the voice but THE producer/mixer of the project. Your collection tends to fill up with music that fits certain buckets “regular person rap” “hardcore” “neo soul vibes” this album isn’t in any of those and will always act as a pallet cleanser. HOME [sic] gives you dance music, hip hop, dope song concepts, hooks from another planet. No one competes with Old Grape God because no one is playing this position.
Purchase HOME [sic] below:
Lord Kayso-MOOR Chores
In terms of sure thing purchases it might not get better than this. At $11.11 for 17 tracks you would do well to spend $10 more. Big Flowers calls this the album of the year with earned emphasis. We love Bandcamp because when we buy albums we pay more attention to them. MOOR Chores is not really built for a “Hot New Tracks” Spotify playlist. This is a cohesive story, like an old Spike Lee movie where the main character can’t get any distance from the big personalities in the family. Where violence is too close but everyone does their best to create distance from it by laughing and finding joy. If you really enjoy the details of a great album this is one to study. The sequencing is art, the stories and images will capture you completely. If you don’t have it you need to prioritize this one.
Purchase MOOR Chores below:
OKnice-Have You Tried Being Happy?
Relatability is high on this one. OKnice is from Saint Paul, Minnesota and crafted a full experience through the anguish of mental health, dissociating from yourself, losing sleep but all the while these beats glow like Summer. OKnice has a great flow and can spit all day but none of the time on this is wasted. Only featured guests are Love, Ulysses and SeKwence who are both known for this balance of skill/relatable content/introspection. It’s a $10 digital purchase for 15 songs so you’re winning off the bat. I love relatable albums where you are getting to know a narrator throughout and not just basking in ill braggadocio…not saying I don’t like that. I have other picks for that! I take a great relatable album high because a lot of comparable albums will get too depressing or just not be as well done.
Purchase Have You Tried Being Happy? below:
“Running up the numbers like I’m Rain Man.” —Fisher Price
“Smash a watch, just to kill the time.” —La La La
So at this point in the draft I have my relatable album about mental health. I have my left field Kool Keith-style experimental project. MOOR Chores gives me story songs and an album to talk about ALL YEAR. Swegasus gives me punch lines. Sometimes I just want to hear about how she ate him up like a Scooby Snack. On one of the most nihilistic songs (Die To This) Black Josh says “play this sh_t at my funeral,” and goes on to explain “all them hymns and sad songs are unsuitable.” The energy on this is muscular. The beats are the coach pushing Black Josh to hit the speedbag harder, to flip crazier and crazier lines. Knowing the limitations of this mission the 8 song playtime (27 minutes) makes a ton of sense. The style and high level of execution solidifies this as an album I will need.
Purchase Swegasus below:
Curbside Jones-Jigga With The Grill
THE GAMBLE: OKnice and Lord Kayso, I’ve already heard the album and know its great. Old Grape God, same. My team has guaranteed commodities so now I’ve earned the right to take a shot and I’m taking it on Curbside Jones. I don’t know much about this project but 1. The cover is fabulous 2. Lead single is produced by DooF. It’s $10 for 7 songs which isn’t that high in terms of stakes. So listen to the title track and fifteen seconds in you will hear a voice, speed and volume that changes. It’s one of the most arresting experiences listening to a verse in 2022 for me. Garrott Odom is great on the hook and does well on the second verse but if I can get more of the pure insanity of that first verse by Curbside it’s well worth $10 to put that on my team.
Purchase Jigga With The Grill below: