BUSDRIVER: RoadKillOvercoat: CD

Jul 23, 2007

Some strange things appear to be afoot over at Epitaph. While their choices in punk fare have pretty much degenerated into a stable of generic, piss-poor bro-core fodder, their forays into the world of underground hip hop have been, for the most part, pretty fuggin’ stellar, present company included. Schooled in the art of rhyme by members of the legendary Project Blowed—a loose community of Los Angeles MCs who count amongst their ranks such respected artists as Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude, Acid Reign, The Nonce, Volume 10, and Of Mexican Descent, to name a few—Busdriver specializes in a fiery, flashy form of rapping that doesn’t so much transcend most of what you hear on “urban” radio stations as it does grab it by the lapel and slap it silly. His borderline abstract rhymes (if you listen close, however, there’s more meaning in them words than you may think) are delivered in a light-speed staccato style that’s drenched in alliteration so meticulously crafted that his vocals become a percussive instrument unto themselves. This may be his most “accessible” album to date, and there is much here that sounds nice pumped up to eleven on a good thumpin’ system, but most will find the included lyric sheet much needed to wade through the dense proceedings. Yeah, I know there’s an abundance of weak shit tagged as “rap” out there, but I triple-dog-dare anyone to give this disc a listen and insist it’s any less “art” than Charlie Parker or Romare Beardon.

 –jimmy (Epitaph/Anti)