I distinctly remember the backlash as rap's late 1990's underground began churning out rap that sounded a bit different. Despite Anticon and Company Flow and a rapidly expanding underground roster all sounding respectively unique, many 'purists' chafed at the entire set, often characterized as 'nerd rap (not to be confused with Rapnerd, which Google often confuses.)' Eventually, after much investigation, I formed my own opinions on many of the emerging artists and realized how different each of them were. I could never truly enjoy Anticon but was impressed with how much of the early Def Jux material seemed to be basically themed hip-hop with updated production (often provided by El-P) and unique emcee styles. Whether I liked Aesop Rock (no), Cannibal Ox (yes), or Mr. Lif (at times), I realized that much of the Jux material was about rap's common themes (women, bravado, politics, and hip-hop itself) but involved a creativity that was galvanizing to rap's super fan.
Particular pleasing to me among the early Jux work were Cannibal Ox's "F-Word" (women) and "B-Boy Alpha" (hip-hop), and today's selection Masai Bay's
"Paper Mache" (bravado.)
Barring any gross misinterpretation on my part, Masai's chorus is masterfully blasphemous. "Every DJ's roleplay is Moses per se" seems to hint that spinning a Masai record is bringing God's word to the people. Overall, his one-of-a-kind rambling, cryptic flow pairs perfectly with El-P's mechanical, hypnotic production to legitimize an occasional non-rhyming stanza that would sound lazy from most. The song's opening exemplifies this:
"Peace, crumb, I bring to you, good news
My equipment's at a minimum in some of the beats
you will hear what I possibly could use
When I get it, you are gonna need a miracle."
Enjoy "Paper Mache," unique and ire inducing, and as always, drop a comment.
Masai Bay: Paper Mache (Yousendit 1) (Yousendit 2) (Yousendit 3) (Buy It)
Further Rapnerd/Def Jux Favorites (in no particular order)
1. MURS: Badman/The Dance/God's Work
2. Rob Sonic: Sniper Picnic
3. Cannibal Ox: Stress Rap
4. Aesop Rock: Daylight
5. C Rayz Walz: Battle Me
6. El-P: Jukie Skate Rock
7. Mr. Lif: Avengers
8. PFAC: Beer, Bak 'N De Dayz
9. RJD2: June, Final Frontier