Angry Blackmen [@ANGRYBLACKMEN_] Gun for Best Project of 2019 with Red-Hot EP, 'TALKSHIT!'
ANGRY BLACKMEN // ‘TALKSHIT!’
PRODUCED BY: WENDIGO
OVERALL RATING : 1 0 0 %
“Let me just say that ‘TALKSHIT!’ should serve as a model for the level of care, detail, energy, and professionalism that musicians should aspire to put into their releases. There’s not one bad track on this EP and there’s not one musical choice that I would identify as a misstep”
I’m calling it now: Brian and Quentin of Angry Blackmen have just released the best underground EP of the year with their Wendigo produced ‘TALKSHIT!’. From beginning to end, this cacophonous collection of bold, gritty bass-lines and in-your-face flow keep the energy at a hundred. Aided by the dissonant, minor-key background instrumentation and the silver tongues of the emcees, the atmosphere of this project is ominous, but the vivaciousness being exuded with every word and the brevity of this project perfectly keep this thing from being too dense. Lyrically, Brian and Quentin find themselves perfectly balanced on the trapeze line that is being meaningful while still keeping things loose and fun and not falling victim to verbosity. This really makes for an impressive attack on all fronts from ABM that comes to roost in the form of one of the very few flawlessly executed projects that I’ve ever encountered.
Discordant and intimidating yet undeniably fun, this project opens with the aptly-titled, “ANARCHY!” and perfectly sets the tone for the bulk of this project. Rife with clever punchlines, purposeful cadence accidentals, and sinister accompaniment, ABM claim their spot upon the throne in the opening track that from an instrumentation perspective, perfectly transitions into the following track, “SPAZZ!”. This second track sees some relief from the dismal instrumentation with a whirring vocal sample and a fucking forcible counter-melody, but the opening up of the percussion in this track really helps to bring the vitality of this track to another level. I can’t quite pin what the opening sample on the title track is, but this is the point in this project when I really have to tip my hat to Wendigo for how cleverly he’s able to flip around these top-layer pieces of the instrumentation throughout this project to draw hard lines of demarcation from song to song while keeping the overall climate of this EP cohesive in terms of their instrumental undercurrent of grimy bass and pulsating accents. There’s no denying the skillful cadence, energy, and lyrical prowess from Brian and Quentin, but the production is absolutely on point and truly takes this venture to a new level and on the aforementioned title track and halfway point on ‘TALKSHIT!’ in particular, I notice something new in the accompaniment every time I hit repeat that brings a smile to my face.
Over the hill of this undertaking is the fourth track, “USA!” which puts the juxtaposition of commercially acceptable braggadocio and the rage that fuels the creative energy behind it in the forefront. For fear of sounding like a broken record, I have to give more praise for the energy that the emcees give on this track and from the time you hear “I’m like young Static Shock with the dreadlocks/this that hood shit, make a white man head pop”, Brian and Quentin do nothing, but crescendo in terms of the vigor they put on display. The penultimate track, “Bullshit!” was my introduction to ABM back in the day and I have to say, it bangs even harder in the context of this EP than it does by itself. With a chorus and bridge that a crowd could easily chant along with while still maintaining the lyrical integrity and peculiarity prevalent in the remainder of this effort, this track is a perfect example of the diversity in Brian and Quentin’s songwriting since this one is stripped down to bare necessities for a well-crafted, but condensed track that you can tell that they just had fun with. Sadly, all great things must come to a close such as in the final track, “RIOT!” which takes a short break from the seemingly never-ending grime and aggression of the rest of this EP in the form of some uplifting yet ominous vocoder riffing that drops into a choppy low-end synth that gets kicked in the ass by ‘TALKSHIT!’s signature gritty 808s that busts down into a bass-heavy, minimalist chorus that gets brightened up by some ride cymbal and, eventually, screeching synth.
What can I even say to finish off this write-up that I haven’t already gone on about in excess? My praise for this project could earnestly go on for a small dissertation, but for fear of being verbose, let me just say that ‘TALKSHIT!’ should serve as a model for the level of care, detail, energy, and professionalism that musicians should aspire to put into their releases. There’s not one bad track on this EP and there’s not one musical choice that I would identify as a misstep. There are no features, one producer, two emcess, and no bullshit (with the exception of the track titled “Bullshit!”). This is the sort of release that makes me feel truly honored to have a platform from which to cover underground hip hop and, particularly, one that gives me such a good eye on what’s happening 1,143 miles northeast from me in the beautiful city of Chicago. My hat is off to Angry Blackmen and Wendigo for their masterful work on ‘TALKSHIT!’. If you just read all of this review and still haven’t started bumping this project yet, then quit fucking up and go enrich your own life by streaming it below.