Y.P. Louis – “The Great Lakes Gorilla” & Marble Mummy – “The Slow Roll Tape”: Double Down Album Reviews!
I swear if these guys keep it up, this could be a weekly thing. Ever since I moved from New York, I’ve barely been able to listen to anything that isn’t Michigan-Produced Hip-Hop. It’s becoming a bit of a problem and one that won’t be rectified anytime soon. So, in exchange for getting their music for free, I get to gloat to the whole world about how you should be listening to it. The only catch is that it’s free anyways, so you should probably listen to it.
It seems like Y.P. Louis came out of nowhere, but judging from his style, it’s more than apparent that he’s been around the block a couple of times. In the beginning of his 14-track opus, this Ypsilanti-based rapper states that he’s “never been a real gimmicky, flashy dude”. He just wants to “take it back to the basics”. After this is understood by the listener, the flood starts and it doesn’t relent for 51 minutes.
One would be at a loss trying to describe his rap style. It’s very meat and potatoes, not afraid to experiment but moreso too stubborn to. He seemingly builds a wall out of his voice, but yet, nothing is done to manipulate this electronically. This is simply Y.P. refusing to stop, ever. In fact, one would have to listen closely to even hear him breathe. Content-wise, it all makes sense, if you go through the effort to follow every word that he says. There’s nothing too hilarious going on here, just hard, cold rhyming at full-speed. There are some tracks in which you even forget that there’s a beat. That doesn’t mean that it’s weak, it’s just that his voice overpowers everything else on the track. It hypnotises you to the point that you forget that it’s actually a human being. Whether his words are memorized or improvised is moot, because the fact is that he’s saying them. On the other end, though, it’s a little too easy to drown his voice into a constant buzz, as the entire album could go one ear and out the other, without any significant notice. When you actually want to listen to it, it’ll be there. When you’re simply looking for background filler on your daily commute, it’s also there for that. The drone is not overpowering enough to command attention. This may sound like an insult, but it isn’t. Sometimes you simply need to get things done and not do so in silence. An episode of Seinfeld doesn’t have to grab your attention, but if you space in every few minutes, you’ll find something enjoyable about it. Same applies if you give it your full attention. This is a quality in music that many people don’t generally think about, but it’s important.
One track that does command attention is The Robbery. It’s a masterfully crafted tale about, you guessed it, a robbery. He goes into so much detail, one would forget that it all rhymes. The chorus is sadistically catchy as well, stating “Bitch this is a robbery, we’re leaving out with all you personal property/nobody move, nobody get burned/just enter the combination and make them dials turn”. Whatever you do, don’t start singing it to yourself in like at the supermarket. I almost made that mistake once. Another highlight is Bedtime Story, which is a true re-telling of Y.P.’s brush-up with death. He recalls every detail of the day vividly as the listener steps into his mind. Your hair goes up on end when he narrates “No use praying now, I’ll see him in a minute/I’ve done a lot of wrong, so I’m hoping he forgives me/Like drinkin till I’m pissy, doing drugs and getting lifted and all the other shit I won’t admit or come to grips with/But if he don’t, well I guess I’ll see you in hell, with a gas can and another story to tell”. Whether it be truth or fiction, Y.P. knows how to turn his rhymes into a cohesive tale. It’s simply a matter of tuning your attention and following him for the ride.
Y.P. Louis has his genre down to a tee. He knows exactly what his audience expects and how to deliver it. It’s good ol’ fashioned rap music, the way it was meant to be. It can serve as easy background music, but when you actually can actually focus, it’ll be there to impress you as well. How often he’ll be pressing records like this one is up to the man himself. But in the meantime, he’ll continue popping up his head on everyone else’s albums, like any respectful human being would.
Coze’s Rating: 8.2/10
I’ve always been convinced that Erik Gustafson is actually a robot. Maybe not a robot, but a pseudonym for a group of people that wanted to make music under the guise of a singular entity. Then, about a month ago, I saw a commercial for FedEx that confirmed my suspicions.
“There is no Erik Gustafson” becomes an underlying theme this time around, being sampled numerous times throughout. The Slow Roll Tape is the 4th effort of the year by Marble Mummy, which makes it clear that Erik Gustafson cannot possibly be a real human being with a real life. I mean, I haven’t met him. Have you? I rest my case…
In all seriousness though, the unofficial sequel to “The Fast Bounce Tape” [review here] is yet another left turn in style and direction. However, I feel like I say that every time. Either he’s going to take enough left turns to make a complete square or left turns will simply become the norm. I suppose I should be more shocked when he makes an album that sounds like another. The genre this time around? Murder Rap!
Although only a few songs can be defined by this turn, their visceral power takes over the entire arc of the album. The first genre track, …introducing Shanksta Shank and Banksta Bank, obviously does just that. Shanksta Shank is Matt G’s alter-ego, who basically tries to be as graphic with his words as possible. Whether he be talking about smoking weed with corpses or shooting nuns in the vagina, he doesn’t fail to offend. There was a short period of time in which I was not able to listen to this album, because it would put me in a foul mood. It’s like when you first listen to Ween’s “Chocolate & Cheese”, you’re either going to listen to “Spinal Meningitis” a million times, or skip it every time. I was one of those cats that skipped it. But, of course, one day …Introducing got stuck in my head and now it’s one of my favorite Matt G songs. Who would’ve figured? To all of our misfortune, “the richest thrifty gangster you know”, Banksta Bank doesn’t make it past the introduction. He gets to introduce himself and then he disappears for the rest of the duration.
The next Shanksta Shank joint is Slice You, Dice You & Eat Rice With You, which is basically more of him explicating about how he drinks blood, eats bugs and will probably kill you. The beat is very mellow and bent, as if it were a serial killer on a morphine binge. This works well, as Matt G doesn’t do intense very easily. So, it’s just him casually being insane. The last track of the Murder Rap trifecta is Scarface Laugh, which features Baja Blash [Micah VanVoorst/Slappy Slim/M-Select] and Malik Phillipe Martin [Donnie Destro]. While Shanksta Shank is a coked-out mutant, Baja Blash is the overweight Momma’s Boy possessed by a demon [presumably wearing stained denim overalls and has something bulging out of his neck]. As horrific as it sounds, I can’t help but laugh my ass off when Baja says “Slice a bitches neck, hold her by the hair and get more brain than Bobby Heenan”. It’s graphic and disgusting, but it works. I would say Erik Gustafson & Co’s experiment with Murder Rap was a success. Or, they at least had some fun with it. The one thing that I do know is that it’s definitely not for everybody, which comes with the territory.
The album also features some of Matt G’s spacier tracks. Sometimes I feel like he gets spacier and spacier, which is good that he’s honed a style, but bad if you…well…aren’t into spaced rappers. There’s also a couple of tracks with newcomer Gigi Allyn [Which is a great name. GG Allin needs to be referenced more often.], who lays down some now-classic ’90s chick rap verses. She definitely has the voice and the flow for it, which is more than I can say about any other female rappers on the scene right now. But then again, maybe it’s all about preference. The best beat on the album has to be Talkin Shit, which I can only describe as a manatee humming to himself on the beach. It’s a relaxing reprieve from this intense offering, especially when it’s Matt G, Y.P. Louis [as Yung Such n Such] and Fresh serenading you.
Like I said before, this album isn’t for everybody, which is something I probably say about everything made by Marble Mummy. However, if you’re able to laugh with them, you’re going to have a good time. If not, well, I’m sure Erik Gustafson will have something new to offer any day now. That is…if he exists…
Coze’s Rating: 8.8/10
These albums are free to listen to here and here. However, if you want to download them to your Zune or other mp3 machines, you’re going to have to pay. But you can name your own price! So, you know, it’s win-lose-win, which wins the series at 2-1. Give it a shot, give it two shots and show some love for Hip-Hop in The Mitt!
Originally Posted 11/7/11