That’s right, Murs and Slug are back at it again. The third in a series of collaborations they’ve done, each time with a different producer and b-movie actress namesake. The first go round was with the Grouch, the second with Ant, and this time they’ve enlisted the help of Aesop Rock.
The result here is a darker, more aggressive album than in the past. For the most part, this encourages the two veteran emcees to bring their battle rap to the project. On this tip, both emcees mesh together the best with the production and play off each other well. It’s when they both go into storyteller mode and start divulging thoughts about women that I have the most issues with the emcees (which is true for much of their careers). Songs like “Permanent Standby,” make me a little uneasy. I’m sure there’s some truth to story, but it seems to be a tale of a woman’s descent into bad decisions and abuse told by two guys in a position of privilege and judgment.
“Ghost Dance Deluxe” confuses me lyrically (they‘re in love with ghosts?), but I’m fascinated by the production, and really drawn in by the interesting use of a Fat Boys sample. For that matter, this is the first time Aesop Rock has produced an entire album for someone else and doesn’t even rhyme at all on the album, and I have to say he did a really good job. The music is varied, complex, interesting, and works really well with the emcees.
And while I complain about some of the tendencies of Slug and Murs, I would have dismissed these two if they didn’t also knock it out of the park on occasion. Unfortunately, they just can’t quite seem to get it all together at once on the album. Murs opens up a song like “Deathmurdermayhem” with a great critical look at violence in hip hop, but Slug doesn’t deliver on the same level in his verse.
My other big complaint about this album is the length - at 21 tracks there is definitely some fat that could be trimmed to make this album tighter. What frustrates me most about this album is that it clearly had the potential to be amazing, but instead its just ok. Maybe Felt 4 will be the time they finally knock it out of the park.
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