My ass hurts, and I blame this album completely for that.
Lil Darkie, unlike some of his contemporaries, has been CRUSHING 2020. While other artists have been taking the Coronavirus season easy, trying to enjoy the time off, Lil Darkie has been busy crafting record after record of some of the most interesting, fun and engaging Experimental Hip Hop seen all year (and potentially all decade but we will see about that in due time), with no sign of slowing down or stopping. Hell, in my top 50 list for this year, Joshua Hamilton has shown up THREE GODDAMN TIMES!
So, when he borderline surprise dropped this record in the midst of his creative peak, I was beyond excited. Not only is it his longest endeavours to date (clocking in at around an hour and 10 minutes), but it's got production from fellow Spider Gang affiliates solsa, MKULTRA...and Wendigo (who's production has made me more then dead on past projects). As I was waiting for this record, I was shaking in anticipation...
...And by god my ass is still suffering the consequences.
Holy Goddamn Shit. This thing is fucking WILD, and given Lil Darkies previous output, that is saying a whole lot! This album not only has some of Lil Darkies most ferocious bangers to date that'll leave you walking funny for the rest of the day, but also showcases his most beautiful, poignant and versitile songwriting yet.
Tracks like 'HANGING MYSELF WITH MY PHONE CHARGER', 'DISINTERGRATION', 'LA LA UNDERBELLY' and title track 'SWAMP' are all disgusting, hard hitting and adrenaline pumping bangers that combine dark, industrial-tinged trap beats with aggresive, animated and off the wall vocals to create some of the most intense rap music you'll hear all year. There is something so uniquely euphoric about hearing a Lil Darkie banger that you really can't find anywhere else, and these bangers are here, center stage with a spotlight dashed onto it.
And in perticular, this album puts emphasis on Joshua's more guitar laiden tracks, and Oh My Fucking God. This is the on of, if not the best combination of experiemental hip hop and differing blends of metal I've heard...perhaps ever? Noisy, shrill guitars combined with thick, dense percussion on top of hellish soundscapes and synth passages give tracks like 'NOISESINSIDEMYHEAD', 'SOUND OF GRINDING A POLITICIAN'S SKULL INTO A FINE POWDER' and 'COMFORT IN DISCOMFORT' such intense energy that I can't help but be completely dominated by. Seriously, listen to ANY of these tracks and tell me that this isn't some of the best trap metal out there right now, I DARE you!
But at the same time, this record isn't just all go. In fact, this contains some of Darkies most mellow and beautiful tracks to date! Songs like the inturlude tracks, 'i can see clearly' and 'baby me' are beautiful peices of acoustic pop, with whistful melodies, emotive lyrical content (especially on 'baby me') and minimulistic yet incredibly incricate production. It's amazing to see Lil Darkie go from a song like the hardcore punk assualt of (and brace yourself for this title) 'THE KIDS ARE ALL R*TARDED' to the blissful, soulful and genuinely georgous RnB cut 'i don't know', and somehow it feel like it all connects and works as a holistic peice.
And that's something this record took me aback with. At 22 tracks, there very rarely feels like there are weaker or filler tracks on the record. Granted, that problem hasn't VANISHED, as there still is a little bit of that problem lingering perticularly in the later half of the album, but the amount of filler here, for a 22 track album, is honestly quite low. It's consistently impressing with it's intense, overbearing soundscape, and very rarely leaves a moment for you to breathe in the best way possible.
But...look, if you are just not into Lil Darkies abrasive and in your face style (or if you are easily offended by the use of slurs), then this is easily going to be your kryptonite. Lyrically, this is Lil Darkies most abrasive, taking aim at literally everyone with the same with found in some of the best South Park episodes. Multiple shots are taken at politicians, the music industry and Lil Darkie himself. This is easily Lil Darkies most emotively angry record, and it is unbridled in its own rage, making for some great musical 'punch a wall' catharsis. But if Lil Darkies abrasive side never was your bag (or if you just outright hate him like some people blindly do), then this album is not going to convince you otherwise. In fact, it'll probably make your opinion more grounded...
...but goddamn it, that's half the point! Lil Darkie is no longer in a position where he feels the need to impress anyone, and is purely doing this for himself. There is so much love, so much creativity, so much fun, so much joy being pumped into literally every song here. It's confident banger after confident banger, each track filling me with so much power and confidence that it honestly made my shitty holidays a lot more barrable, and that's a goddamn FEAT for an album THIS BATSHIT. Hell, I'd go as far to say that this record may be as good as THIS DOES NOT EXIST!
This is some of the most energetic, fun and original experiemental hip hop I've heard in years, and this record is a feat of pure energy that cannot be denied. If this, at any point in this review, has peaked your interest, then PLEASE listen to this. The credits may have rolled on this record, but Lil Darkie is FAR from over.
Also there is a blue waffle bar. Album of the year.
Favorite Jams: SOUND OF GRINDING A POLITICIAN'S SKULL INTO A FINE POWDER, DISINTERGRATE, COMFORT IN DISCOMFORT
Lest Favorite: DARKIE CAN RAP