Manhattan producer/DJ Blockhead returning with his 12th full-length solo LP & only 2 years since his last one Space Werewolves Will Be the End of Us All. Notable for being 1/2 of the Party Fun Action Committee, he’s also built a solo career for himself putting out his first 5 albums through Ninja Tune. But when I heard he signed to Backwoodz Studioz for The Aux & called up guests for every song, it was enough to intrigue me to cover it.
“AAU Tournaments” by billy woods & Navy Blue finds the 2 over some jazz rap production admitting time’s short yet they’ve never taken time off whereas “The Cella Dwellas Knew” by Quelle Chris talks about too many rappers existing in the land of the lost over a groovy, whistling instrumental. “Mississippi” by Aesop Rock hooks up these jazzy horn sections with kicks & snares building upon the concept of counting the name of the titular state just before “Mastering How to Land” by The Koreatown Oddity & Open Mike Eagle has this fuzzy revered rock guitar loop talking about a new daydream making money like Tone-Lōc in FernGully: The Last Rainforest.
Meanwhile, “Lighthouse” by UGLYFRANK weaves this eerie boom bap beat into the picture getting in his hardcore bag lyrically leading into “Hater Porn” by Breeze Brewin’ & Casual finds the 2 over a organ as well as kicks & snares to spit some battle bars. “Give Thanks” by Armand Hammer says it all conceptually over a sample-based boom bap instrumental, but then “Papi Seeds” by Bruiser Wolfbrings this mystically occult vibe talking about how God took his time with this an unnamed adversary.
“God is Busy” by AKAI SOLO goes drumless with this guitar loop admitting that he’s eager to downsize his inventory even though that’s a whole different story of it’s own while “Ponzu Sauce” by Aesop & Breeze has this uncanny groove to the beat with it’s title originating from a line at the beginning of the Syosset wordsmith’s verse. “Sad Vampire” by Brian Ennals talks about puppies not turning into wolves or kittens turning into lions either over a boom bap instrumental with a high-pitched vocal sample while “Gargamel” by Defcee & ShrapKnel goes into cavernous turf referencing a 1-legged evil wizard.
The song “Pink Lemonade” by RXK Nephew brings out his Mr. Been Ballin’ persona accompanied by a shimmery trap instrumental while the penultimate track “1970’s Post Apocalyptic Skin Flick by Creaturenomics & Fatboi Sharif ruggedly talks about the Glock being on fire returning to the boom bap. “Now That’s What I Call a Posse Cut Vol. 56.”, feat. billy woods, Bruiser Wolf, Danny Brown & Despot ends the album with the 4 underground’s emcees over a more psychedelic beat with the best verses going to both billy & Danny.
Last time we saw Blockhead do an producer album with a predominant amount of guests had to be Free Sweatpants at the beginning of 2019, so to hear him recapture that energy & refine it was a great listening experience & has to be my favorite solo album of his in recent memory. The guests’ performances are tight as they spit in their hardcore/abstract styles over his signature sound.