Artist: Bisc1Title: The Basics EPRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Often times, Hip-Hops most talented MCs got their first Rap checks designing logos and doing murals. Miamis Skam? and El Da Sensei can testify to that. Bisc1 is the Connecticut born, Brooklyn learned designer behind logos for Def Jux and Eastern Conference. The artist listened, watched, and chipped away at open mics and showcases for some years, and he delivers The Basics EP (Embedded) based on reflection and empathy.
For a debut, Bisc1s writing is some of the most digestible details an MC can offer. He writes greatly about the human conditionfocusing largely on his thoughts and feelings, without being overly melodramatic. Pieces is the darkest it gets: referencing to the apocalypse in Hip-Hop, nature, and society. Even in relatively perkier moments such as The Basics, nothing is jovial. The most uplifting song on the album feels less of an affirmation than an outcry. This EP has a lot of intimacy in its writing, very analytic commentary, but a dynamic sense of hope. In the vein of Atmospheres Lucy Ford Vordul Megas The Revolution of Young Havocs, these are great raps for a cold winter.
The mood of the music on The Basics plays well against Bisc1s lyrics. Decompression combines piano chords, an Indie Rock vocal sample, and live percussion for a unique sound. Drake also manipulates the beat halfway through, upholding Embeddeds reputation for refined production. Drake also freaks the title track using familiar drums from DJ Shadows Walkie Talkie, only with electronic background noise. DJ Ese contributes to two of the EPs six songs, including the extremely sophisticated Lights Out which mixes horns with synthesizers and a great kick & snare arrangement.
The EP plays slower and less enthused than most, but Bisc1s word choices and subject matter seem carefully chosen. He means what he says, and thats rare. The Basics offers a lot, but demands a specific listener. Those interested in headphone rap, nihilism, and gritty production will find one of the better albums of the season, in short-form.