by Dan O
*these recommendations come with the natural understanding that everyone reading this has purchased Quelle Chris-DEATHFAME album. If you have not done so please STOP reading this and purchase that album here.*
Mello Music Group is having a summer sale right now where current catalog is $4.99 on Bandcamp. Here is what I’ve picked up so far:
Being honest, I’m not the expert on MC Paul Barman. In 2012, LA Weekly named him #14 on “Top Whitest Musicians of All Time” what a terrible award to win. Reputation-wise Barman is considered oddly brilliant. That’s why you see production from Questlove, Prince Paul, MF DOOM, Kenny Segal, Mark Ronson with features from Masta Ace and Open Mike Eagle. YOUNGMAN speaks on (((race))) seems like something that might get you in trouble…if you weren’t Paul Barman. As a writer he slips in and out of characters, smuggling jokes in under cover of his trademark flat tone. (((99.99999))) is such a classic DOOM beat full of truly outlandish moments (at one point he calls out to the audience to snore). It’s likely you’ll listen to Barman and be rocked by the unconventional cadence, the space age train of thought rhymes, but its just as likely you’ll be enamored by someone unlike anyone else. Not only is Echo Chamber an experience like none other (on Mello or elsewhere) it is executed at a high level. You gotta hear Open Mike Eagle and Barman rap over an MF DOOM beat on (((believe that))).
The maddening part of Denmark’s reputation as “underrated” is, as an MC, he’s always been a scene stealer of the highest order. You will not need to acclimate yourself to the lyrical world of Denmark. If you’ve ever liked Rap you’ll love Sun Go Nova. For $5 you get the Sun Go Nova 5 song ep produced by KNXWLEDGE and EARL SWEATSHIRT as well as a beat tape to go with it. Zzzzz featuring ADAD overflows with anxious energy and purpose as EARL provides a beat that knocks but stops, switches, pivots and doubles back. Trustfall knocks even harder. 2018 EARL beats were another species. The first spoken line on Trustfall is “I got mud on my ten toes, magnet letters on the fridge though, and it spells STILL BROKE GO GET MO” Denmark’s writing takes the real world in from the most fascinating camera angles. It can seem surreal until you listen hard and realize its not. It’s super real. KNXWLEDGE makes the horns move quicker than they’re used to on Stolat with tight looping and the flow fits to match. By the time you get through to the end of Vic Spencer’s guest verse on Sellout you’ll be placing Sun Go Nova in the all-time EP’s you’ve ever heard. It’s that important from top to bottom.
Generic funk makes me visibly angry. I live in New England where we have a fair amount of college-white-kid funk bands that are tragically simple. They think funk means fun and you just jam out for a long time making lots of jangly sounds. The Lasso is one of the smartest funk minds because he’s violently innovative. Holy Body Roll has slow beautiful finger snap soul moments (Burned But Returned) gentle piano keys that start the title track that turn into propulsive electronic movement. This album goes from funk to disco to Babyface sounds. A Billi Free weaves poetic lines at a tempo that sometimes feels like rapping while retaining its beauty. The simple versatility of Free is marvelous and you can’t imagine this project without her rich tones reverberating from the albums core. As a genius level director of music, The Lasso is ever thankful to have found the perfect lead.