Thursday, August 14, 2014

Report to the Dance Floor: Vision the Kid 's "Somewhere in a Dark City"

The problem with most of what is passing as hip hop today is not only do they have nothing to say but they don't even assemble their nonsense in a manner displaying any attempt to make music.Vision the Kid separates himself from this crow Love Past Midnight has a pretty infectious hook on the melody, that convinces me these guys are committed to writing actual songs rather than just bloated egos rambling Naming dropping Ronnie James Dio on the song "Devil" even though it doesn't seem to fir in the lyrical context still earns points in my book.

 While Kayne West is obviously an influence on what is being done , there are rock elements like real guitar being layered over the beats. The lyrical scheme at times also brings Yelawolf to mind, with the lyrical content fluctuation between social issues and being ghetto fabulous. The melodic side of what he does re-surfaces with the blues by way of Everlast swagger of "Lucky You" , which has the trailer park similar to Re-hab. The mention of rapping on stage high like Hunter S Thompson, earns him just as many points as the Dio reference. This tells me he cultural scope of his consciousness is not as myopic as most rappers.

There is a similar relaxed flow on "Sunday Morning". He reps the Midwest and glorifies his wake and bake, which runs closer to par for the course. The slower tempo continues on "Somewhere in the Dark" , where Ben Burell handles the smooth Frank Ocean like hook on the chorus. This one hold the smooth trippy funk of "Atleins" era Outkast. So even on "All Goes Away" which takes this psychedelic element a step further , the wheel isn't being re-invented, but he is showing a broader range of styles than most rappers of this decade have dared this side of Aesop Rock. Lizzie Fontaine's r&b inflected backing vocals are the only element that keeps it's toe in the stream.

He takes his flow to a more edm beat on "Roll Call". His cadence takes on more of a Ludacris element.The roll call of guest rappers don't bring as much to the song as the way the backing track undulates beneath them. The effects of hot boxing the studio continues to show on "Room # 9". His phrasing returns to the Kayne feel, but every thing else he drapes the song in takes the focus from this."Red Eye" follows a more conventional funk groove in his ode to lost love. Lydia Liza's sultry alto give the hook more of an edge. The turn into smoothness closes out this album with "Wires and Knives". There is still an abundance of cool almost sci-fi ambiance coating the background.  

I listen to significantly less rap than I did as the art form became more about marketing... and I quit smoking pot. While I do not plan to pick up my old ways today, it would be more tempting if there were more artists like this guy coming out. If you like hip hop that does something different without leaving you in the lurch with no point of reference this album is a must.

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