Tragic Epilogue by Anti-Pop Consortium (Review)

Anti-Pop Consortium’s detours are not the same old breaks trotted out which are sure to rock a crowd.
Tragic Epilogue - Anti-Pop Consortium

I’m loving this new age of hip-hop, which Priest of Anti-Pop Consortium has likened unto the glory days of SST Records, when the likes of Black Flag, the Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., and Sonic Youth redefined rock and roll by bringing it harder, faster, noisier, and weirder. All the above bands had some semblance to “normal” rock, but you could also tell immediately that it was not business as usual. Anti-Pop Consortium has no real analogue to any specific artist from that era, but at the very least, there’s a level and methodology behind their work that’s somewhat similar.

It would be facile to drop some references to various esoteric rhymes or the odd sample here and just say “It’s the hip-hop of the future! It’s not 4/4 and they’re not even rhyming about hos!” Rather, I will say that there’s actually an almost willful dated-ness to the production here, and a lyrical approach that is only SUBTLY poetic (but definitely not throwaway or without any meaning at all besides “hey, it flows!”). Not to worry, it seems very planned, and even if being in on the joke doesn’t always make it funny, that’s not the point here anyways.

The point? Always move into the future, even if you have to detour into the past. Anti-Pop Consortium’s detours are not the same old breaks trotted out which are sure to rock a crowd. Maybe I’m reading too much into the choice of accompaniment, but even if only subliminally, hip-hop’s about references and context. Anti-Pop Consortium are all ABOUT tearing away the listener from such easy traps. Drum machines and synths are used in a way that on first listen seems antithetical to the main rule of hip-hop: “Thou Shalt Have Boom Bap.” There’s bass and drums on this record, to be sure, but they’re deployed in a manner that suggests that headphones might be more useful with this record than a car with some serious krunk.

Priest, M. Sayyid, and Beans don’t use stale lyrical chestnuts like “on and on to the break of dawn,” but they’re not going to give the likes of Lyrics Born or Gift Of Gab a run for the money anytime either. Instead, Priest lets a line like “shark infested waters, message in a bottle, no man is an island, individual visual MC, me, I love life” go right over your head, so it can bounce off the ceiling and smack you in the head with a sound that goes “it’s extended parallelism, kid!” In the same song he lets loose with the most honest, telling lines I’ve ever heard by an MC: “I play the part of the heart torn rapper trying to reveal his true feelings but lacking devices priceless paradigm, I’m.” He then goes on to describe a situation that’s “humbling like a father’s kiss.” Brilliant. If Anti-Pop Consortium keeps this up, such devices may not be in short supply for long.

Written by Pearson Greer.