Shock City Maverick
||"Shards of Glass"
||"You're Dead, Let's Disco"
"Not out of vanity/but for humanity," with Shock
City Maverick the rapper simply known as Beans returns to
up the ante in the indie rap and electronic music games. It's
definitely his most accessible release to date, but don't fear,
he hasn't lost any of his energy, inventiveness, talent, humor
or skill. He's still hungry to gain the recognition he deserves.
For those who've been paying attention, you'll remember he was
once one-third of the now infamous and legendary Anti-pop Consortium.
Beans infuses their love of groove-based un-convention and sonic
textures into a futuristic urban-electro party record that will
challenge you as much as excite. It's danceable and abstract.
Lyrically he has "nothing to lose" because he raps
like no one else. Remember, Beans comes out of the same NYC poetry
scene that also gave birth to Mos Def and Saul Williams, but he
doesn't dabble in their adolescent rock experiments; he keeps
it funky, solid, urban, raw, electronic and avant-garde. Beans
is one of the more interesting people on the underground hip-hop
scene at the moment. He has a very alive sound with a dry, smart
and odd sense of humor; just listen to the poetry of "Interval"
(e.g. "A memory of the future looking back through the eyes
of a historian"). He also has an excitingly graphic love
of wordplay: "Like a finger down your throat/I spit it out."
Shock City Maverick, like the recent Dizzie Rascal album,
is about lyricism, sonics and pushing the boundaries of urban
electronic music. Beans continues to bring odd imagery and, again,
innovation to the cipher, with the perfect blend of pop culture,
sex, abstraction, timing, metaphor and choruses that separates
him from everyone else. He sings, "MCs don't like my styling
'cause they can't do no better" at the beginning of the irresistibly
catchy "Shards of Glass." Beans also brings in female
singers (think a black Debbie Harry) to sing the title track,
adds live guitar to the great "Papercut," and simply
calls a song "Death by Sophistication." He's an original
Then there's the instrumentals, where Beans rolls up his sleeves
and gets busy on the beat machines and keyboards, creating classic
electro inspired grooves that let you know why he's signed to
Warp. He updates and invigorates their classic sound -- bleeps,
samples, chimes, digital scratches, strings, effected voices,
sonic warping, church bells, synth stabs and crisp electronics
will make your spine tingle and bounce. Check the first half of
"A Force on Edge" which builds into a strict and rigid
urban landscape of rhythm and sound leading me to believe he just
may be "the Ornette Coleman of this rap sh*t." 'Nuff
said. Recommended. [DG]