Monday, October 22, 2012

P.O.S.: "We Don't Even Live Here" (album review)

What's the first place that comes to mind when I say 'hip hop mecca'?  It's Minneapolis right?  Probably not, but it should be.

Minneapolis is not just the home of great power pop anymore.  It's also the home to innovative alternative hip hop, and it's lead by P.O.S.  He drops his new album We Don't Even Live Here on October 22nd.

P.O.S. is different from most hip hop musicians.  Very few of his contemporaries can combine smart political lyrics, original arrangements, and a sense of fun like he can.  He obviously thrives on being different, judging from his ode to oddballs and outcasts "Weird Friends (We Don't Even Live Here)".

You won't hear references to the likes of noted Atheist the late Christopher Hitchens, WikiLeaks, or Uday Hussein from most rappers out there.  P.O.S. throws them around nimbly, and most importantly, accurately. He manages to maintain his thoughtful approach, even when delivering an aggro-rap like "Fuck Your Stuff", or the scathing "Get Down", with its truncated sound elements.

Things are always fresh on We Don't Even Live Here.  Very little sounds like typical commercial hip hop.  "How We Land" is funky, despite the presence of Justin Vernon.  The beats on "They Can't Come" are virtually spring-loaded.  "Fire In the Hole/Arrow To Action" incorporates electrofied Middle Eastern rhythms and ticking time-bomb beats.  Things hit light Industrial territory on "All Of It".

As a reluctant hip hop listener I would find the genre much easier to tolerate if more of the performers put the time and effort into their music that P.O.S. does.  He doesn't need to glamorize the thug life to get you to pay attention.  That's the most refreshing thing of all.

Best tracks: "How We Land", "Get Down"

Track listing for We Don't Even Live Here:
  • Bumper
  • Fuck Your Stuff
  • How We Land
  • Wanted/Wasted
  • They Can't Come
  • Lockpicks, Knives, Bricks and Bats
  • Fire In the Hole/Arrow To the Action
  • Get Down
  • All Of It
  • Weird Friends (We Don't Even Live Here)
  • Piano Hits

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