This might be some of the most fun I’ve had in listening to social commentary coming back over the mic combined with the beats coming out of these speakers. I’m pretty much guaranteed to enjoy music that has a message buried in there somewhere, but rarely do the sounds that come along with it feel as light and playful as they do here on Absoloot’s Banksters.
Right away in opening tracks “Futuristic,” and “Greed,” my respect for Absoloot and what he’s out there doing shot up straight through the roof. Not only do we have a masterful demonstration on what it takes to command a microphone, but Absoloot’s got an undeniably style and skill that comes through clearly as he rhymes about the hard times many of us actually experience today.
Anyone catch what I just did there?
When you listen to a track like “Greed,” and you’re listening to the lyrics closely…unless you represent that 1% through your work and career yourself, chances are you’ll identify with the themes on Banksters and on this track for certain. Like I’m saying – these are relatable, tough issues that many of us face daily; Absoloot is completely unafraid to use his platform to attempt to drop some knowledge-bombs on the masses.
He does it in extremely clever ways. Not only is he clearly an amazing lyricist; this guy literally delivers every syllable with real passion and conviction in his voice. That’s not a bad way to start this out…incredible words, incredible tone and delivery on his part…but it gets even smarter as it plays through; songs like “I Try” use samples that are guaranteed to keep you interested with excellent melodic samples that tie these rhymes together.
On a track like “One Day,” I think that’s where, while it might not have been my favorite track on the album, it’s an extremely interesting track to listen to Absoloot rhyming on. It’s here in a track that you can appreciate that a guy like this has done his homework, has learned and listened to the history of the genre. This track is like a modern day track meets the old-school with Absoloot drifting between a tone that could just as easily be Jay-Z as it could be Grandmaster Flash from back in the day.
But truly…you just can’t argue about how BIG this title track is. “Banksters,” is massive in sound, perfect in delivery and absolutely relevant in subject if you were to ask me. The government….the banks….corporations….these are the modern-day mobsters of our time; the pillars of and new standard of organized crime. Absoloot tears them all a new asshole on this track, subtly, through knowledge. You’re not about to hear him advocate grabbing guns and fixing this problem through vigilante justice in the corporate rodeo; he’s speaking the truth over these microphones…but what we choose to hear is always up to us, no matter what we’re listening to come in them. In case you’re missing it somehow – Absoloot is advocating that we all wake up just a bit (ahem, I mean, a LOT) and reach out to take back what’s ours; our fundamental freedoms to enjoy life without having to worry about the man coming around to take them away or tax them. “Banksters,” largely holds these people accountable if you listen; Absoloot explains this situation in our world today perfectly through a track like this.
I really dig just how catchy these track are. I think that’s the whole key here on Banksters. It’s kind of like taking your nasty-ass medicine with a sugar-cube. These songs, these messages….they need to be heard by all kinds of ears…quote-unquote “important ears;” but who knows if they’d reach out to where they’re supposed to go if not for the security that comes with these wicked beats to go with the songs. Cause I’d say the combo is an absolute lock; with creative beats with catchy hooks, this ends up delivering the message time after time through songs that don’t ever go too overboard or become dominated by their messages, they simply come flowing out of the speakers through incredible material and genuine hooks that will catch you. The second half of the album certainly reflects that will tracks like “They Don’t Hear Me,” and “Watch Them Fall” leading the way towards the end of the album.
I’d be INSANE to not talk about the masterstroke of “Rap Genius,” even though I’m certainly at risk of sounding just like the narrator in this track asking the questions to Absoloot. This track IS genius though, and he knows it; it serves as both a demonstration of his assets and what he brings to the rap-game, but also as a real send-up to my fellow peers in journalism and overall message to get their shit together. At least that’s the way I’m hearing it. You get these typical-style lame journalism questions over and over as independent artists, and Absoloot shows you right here on this track how you SHOULD answer them. I tell people, bands and artists all the time; the question is almost irrelevant – it’s the answer that matters; every time you have an interview there’s a pause and time for you to answer that question, no matter how awesome or lame it might come at you – YOU can still be awesome in response. And Absoloot does more than prove just that right here on “Rap Genius.” I only wish I could have written a single word of this last paragraph without hearing the narrator’s voice in my head as these words came out…lord almighty I do hope I am NOT that guy…
Like I mentioned in the intro – Absoloot plays this smartly all the way through and the end of this album is no exception. At this point, he’s dropped the knowledge at your feet and put the pen in your hands and rhyme after rhyme has given you the clues on how to start about making some real change here for us all. I wouldn’t say that there’s a point on this album that feel devoid of hope itself however; no matter how dire the situation becomes through the subject and dramatics on Banksters, there’s always a feeling that change can still take place. “Keep Dreaming,” is like a complete reminder that, well yeah, he’s been rhyming about some hard stuff happening in our world…but there’s never a reason that he, or any of us should give up. It’s a real shout-out to the hopeful.
And overall, I dig that this album is about more than just making clever hooks and beats…there’s real substance here to what Absoloot is making, what he’s creating and what he’s talking about. Like I said…it’s up to YOU on what you choose to actually HEAR when you LISTEN; but I recommend getting up close for this one. Not only does Absoloot rap with precision, melody and skill; but this is clearly a man that was born a leader and an educator for the people – there’s a charisma on this album that’s turbo-charged with that feeling of change in the air. And if the world could just shift a little more in the direction of the people as some of these themes on Banksters clearly points out…change could be an extremely good thing for us all. Lead the way Absoloot!
Find out more and have a listen at: http://www.reverbnation.com/absoloot/
Jer@SBS – http://sleepingbagstudios.ca