Type: The bald-eagle of Seattle rap has a hard-earned rep as perhaps the best joke-slinger on the scene. It also deserves to be said that he has a perennially underrated vocal delivery (an effortlessly confident tone) but let's save the serious compliments for another time: This one's about the jokez. His new song/video "My Backpack" is an all-around win. We have the false dreadlocks, the backpack (aka the piece of luggage that is most able to conveniently hold the four elements of true-school conscious rap: spray paint, CD-Rs, show posters, and snark), and the brilliantly-penned satire. He shares the stage with Minneapolis emcee Prof, who's a product of the kind of scene the song pokes fun at, but like Type, has a great sense of humor about it. Shit's funny. Don't take yourself too seriously, people.
I really wanted to like Sadistik's new full length, Flowers for My Father. It came out this week on Fake Four Inc. (an innovative label who's released discs by Dark Time Sunshine and Busdriver), and contains production by local mood-rap all-stars Blue Sky Black Death, but I wasn't able to get into it. He's written some creative lines and cool imagery, but most of his poetry is either too abstract and ungrounded, or too dramatic and forcedly sincere. He doubles-up his vocals when there's a line he really wants you to feel, and strains his voice to let you know he's under stress. Indeed, he does explore some heavy topics -- the album fearlessly addresses death, namely the untimely passing of his father -- and though the intent is entirely noble, the presentation is largely overdone. My two cents.
Art Vandelay is on a creative streak. Their new album, Eye 8 The Crow doesn't come out 'till April, but already they've released two fantastic videos for songs from it. This one, for "Emilio Estevez" is eerie visual art which, like much of their work, captures the strange mix of restlessness and apathy that is life in the information age. It also features printed screen-dialogue like "Are you saying I'm being brainwashed by the Illuminati?...No. I'm just saying you're a fucking loser.", which is T-shirt-worthy.