Pure Order feat. Abstract Rude Presents “Golden Glass”

Because it’s separated from Los Angeles by the Santa Monica Mountains, Oxnard, California can sometimes be overlooked and overshadowed. But it’s a thriving seaside city of two hundred thousand — the largest in Ventura County — and it’s got a cultural history of its own. Oxnard has a long tradition of smart, dense, musically innovative hip-hop: the groundbreaking producer Madlib was born and raised there, and the incisive lyricists of the Lootpack were, too. Pure Order, a formidably intelligent rap duo, has been in the middle of the febrile Oxnard scene for years. Rapper God’s Gift collaborated with Madlib and the Lootpack before he found his perfect complement in Nemesis, a Los Angeles-born emcee with a powerful imagination and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The two rappers wear their hip-hop erudition proudly, they wield metaphors with the knife-like precision of master chefs in the kitchen, and they match each others’ intensity, curiosity, and righteous fury.

On “Golden Glass,” the heady new single from Pure Order, they’ve joined forces with another rapper who shares their worldview, talent, and dedication to alternative rap. It’s no exaggeration to call Abstract Rude one of the most celebrated figures in the history of Southern California hip-hop. He’s a vocalist who has always led with creativity and verbal daring, and he’s elevated every project he’s graced — including his full-length collaborations with Aceyalone and Myka 9. As one of the original emcees associated with the epochal Project Blowed, Abstract Rude has roots in creative Californian rap as deep as anybody’s. But as he demonstrates again on the bracing “Golden Glass,” his sound is a timeless one, and his ability to adjust his flow and his subject matter to bring out the best in his partners is as sharp as it has ever been.

As for God’s Gift and Nemesis, they make the most of their verses, rhyming with confidence and cleverness about the quest for wisdom, dodging the world’s illusions, and warning the audience about the designs of deceivers. While the rappers’ vision is universal, their targets are quite specific: the Pure Order emcees call out abuses of power by megalomaniacs and elitists in positions of prominence. Although they purposefully take no political sides and remain politically neutral, “Golden Glass” is a vital song for an election year. The video underscores the calm righteousness of the rappers, who share the spotlight without rancor, say what they must, and pass the microphone. Their subject matter couldn’t be more serious, but their serenity amidst turbulence is well worth emulating.

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