by Dan O
It’s ok to laugh at me when I say that I didn’t quite understand The Elephant Man’s Bones when I first heard it. The production felt muted and Roc while dropping fly braggadocio…was in a mood. It was Daddy Kane on the second listen that taught me the album. I wasn’t sure if I loved the album yet but I caught myself humming the baseline that drops twenty four seconds in. It is a muted soundscape for sure, I was right about that, full of shifting parts in the background and base melodies that stick to your brain. The more I listen the more The Elephant Man’s Bones emerges as some of Alchemists very best work in years.
The production is faint, grim and spooky because Roc explores being catastrophically fly in a bum @$$ world you can’t trust. So our narrator is funny and gloomy with irritation not far behind. While he still has the Gatling gun of Roc punchlines like “Supply the homies with the rock, Jon Bon Jovi,” you can feel the weight when he says ” Shit different, they just in it for clout/A n_ lit now, can’t just be giving dick out.” This is a lonely at the top type album where humor and fantasy mix with real issues. Bronson is the perfect guest for that and blasts out the gate with one of the best first lines of the year “I peeled my face off, it revealed the same face”. Who better to move with Roc on this next phase? The two of them provided New York with a mutated version of essential boom bap that allowed space for cooking your enemies, stunting and making surreal jokes. Both expressed a personality so engaging the light shines a path forward for so many coming after. It’s only fitting Bronson gets that call when the dark days of dominance come.