What’s Poppin? (January 2018)

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By Lucien O’Brien

Welcome to “What’s Poppin?”, a monthly segment where I’ll be going over the latest releases in popular music, short-form style.


Dumbfoundead: Rocket Man EP (BORN CTZN)

Who would’ve thought a guy who came up through battle rap would be so good at making R&B jams? Keep an eye on that throne, Drake! True, most of the rap numbers on here miss their mark due to shoddy craftsmanship, but the banned-in-the-motherland, nuclear war-inducing title track presents more than enough bars to compensate. (“Rocket Man”, “Every Last Drop”, “Kill Me”) B

Maxo Kream: Punken (TSO)

Every Maxo release up to this point has been half legendary, half mediocre. Unfortunately, Punken sticks to that formula. Master lyricist that he is, sometimes the guy can’t pick an interesting beat to save his life. That’s ok though. At the top of his flip-phone toting, Uber-swindling game, I could listen to him rap over nothing but a click track and still be hooked. (“Grannies”, “Roaches”, “5200”) B-

Jeff Rosenstock: POST- (Quote Unquote)

I had hoped to warm up to this one like I did with Worry, but sadly, after a dozen listens, I’ve concluded it to be the first dud of his solo career. I’ve always admired Jeff for his adventurous approach to punk instrumentation/arrangements, but here it’s just weighing him down. Loads of fat begging to be trimmed off everywhere you look. However, a few cuts clearly show that we’d be foolish to abandon all hope in our boy just yet. (“Melba”, “9/10” “Let Them Win”) C+

Travis Scott/Quavo: Huncho Jack, Jack Huncho (Quality Control)

These two are both extremely producer-dependant. If whoever’s working the boards truly understands what makes them tick, flames will inevitably ensue. However, throw them on some random premade beat, and chances are you’re in for an incoherent snoozefest. I really wish they’d gotten someone like Metro to single-handedly produce this whole tape (I thought that was how all these new wave collab albums were supposed to work?). Oh well. There’s still at least a handful of bangers scattered throughout this thing. (“Modern Slavery”, “Moon Rock” “How U Feel”) C+

Teen Suicide: I Blew on a Dandelion and the Whole World Disappeared (Run For Cover)

Lyrically, Sam has outdone himself on this one. This thing sounds like it was written by a sentient middle-school diary (in a good way). However, the Achilles’ heel lies in the instrumentation. The “lo-fi for the sake of being lo-fi” turn that he’s taken here borders on intolerable. Oh, and there’s no semblance of a memorable melody in sight. Should’ve made this one a poetry pamphlet instead. (“loneliness”, “what we do with our spare time”, “in bare branched sycamore trees”) C

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