Sunday, February 3, 2019

Someone New To Bite

Today we have something new by someone new.  "Edible MC's" is the debut cassingle by an Ohio MC named Pseudonym on Vestibular Records.  If you've never heard of them, that's because this is apparently the label's first venture into the Hip-Hop genre, while generally specializing in... rock, I guess?  A lot of new music and a few vintage reissues from what I've gathered through a quick perusal.

But that fits, because Pseudo definitely seems like the kind of artist who could impress an outsider label to add them to their non-genre roster.  You know, like when Warner Bros mainstream reissued all of Buck 65's catalog, Madonna signed Dana Dane and had him do a west coast album, or whenever Luke Sick syncs up with those random little punk outfits.  Or, for a less glamorous example, when Load Records picked up The Hawd Gankstuh Rappuhs Emsees Wid Ghatz' second album long after the joke was played out for us heads.  You know, those certain, rare instances where an artist who comes with a spin far enough out of left field that they attract the "ordinarily, I hate rap, buttt..." types.  That can be promising, a huge red flag, or just about anywhere in between.

Vocally, he lists Del as an influence, and you can definitely hear the commonality in the way he thoughtfully executes his heavily-enunciated delivery to nail keywords.  Still, he's got a voice and a style that will surely prove divisive, split right along the point where he does/ doesn't remind you too much of MC Paul Barman.  His register playfully rises and falls from phrase to phrase, placing perhaps an overemphasis on his own cleverness.  But when he's flowing at his most aggressive, he rides the rhythm more like Edan or Breeze.  A little less nerdcore would go a long way, but even nay-sayers will have to begrudgingly give it up for his carefully crafted bars.

And anyway, he never really descends into that Catskills punchline schtick.  There are a couple on-the-nose similes on the A-side ("I'm comin' outta left field like YAGGFU Front," "punks get slapped like hockey pucks"), but it's mostly just fun wordplay.  Like here you see him handily illustrate his "Edible MC's" concept with a tight rhyme scheme:

"I'm irate!
You cut-rate fakes get sliced to pieces,
At least this kid will make a neat dish
Of your brain matter and shatter your name and fame.

You regain consciousness in the afterlife.
Pass me my carving knife, so I can cut 'em slower.
The body roaster makin' human skin loafers;

I got meats for weeks from these MCs left over."

And the possibly even tighter B-side, "Super Ego," drops the similes entirely.  Like its title suggests, it's pure braggadocio (there's a particularly effective line he flips in the style of Akinyele) over a killer, fast-paced beat, heavy on the snare and rolling piano samples.  Except they're not even samples.  His bio mentions the music is created from all live instruments, which you wouldn't even guess from listening to it; it certainly doesn't have that messier, live band feel.  I've been deliberating over the pros and cons of his vocals, but it's his production, done by himself and Nathan Peters, that's especially impressive and what straight-up grab you as soon as you hit play (and yes, the instrumental versions of both songs are also on the tape).  Also, they're used fairly subtly, but there's also some nice cuts on "Edible MC's" by a DJ named Fatty Lumpkin.

Of course there's a digital option, but if you've found yourself here, hopefully that suggests you still care about physical media.  The cassingle is a blue tape in a full color J-card.  The download card includes a bonus track where Pseudo freestyles over Ultramagnetics' "Chorus Line."  It seems to already be sold out on Vestibular's site, or they just never listed it in the first place(?  They do things a little strangely; I can't really figure 'em out), but they're still selling it direct on discogs for just five bucks.  So if reading some of the artists I referenced has you saying, "I know I'm gonna hate this," you're probably right and Pseudo won't be for you.  But if you're open at all, give the kid a chance.  I think you'll be impressed.

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