If you miss the golden era of MF DOOM as much as I do–the days when he would dig through crates and find the coolest beats, complete with the creaky noise of used vinyl–then this is a can’t miss record for you. It’s even got the same kind of random, cosmic lyrics: “All my life I’ve been a leader/Just not in this dimension.” “I been losing strength trying to maintain/Everything you say all in my mainframe.” “I been makin change like it’s automatic/You know living better than my father managed/Hit the ground boarded for another passage/You can read that in my bio-autographic.” And so on.
Marlowe is two people: An up-and-coming Seattle producer, L’Orange, who has produced albums by no less than Kool Keith (another MF DOOM tie), and a largely unknown North Carolina rapper who goes by Solemn Brigham.
This album is not geetting as much internet love as I would have hoped, and I guess I get it. The beats and loops are the real stars here. Brigham’s lyrics are often fun, and often well-delivered, but he does need to work a little on changing up his flow and telling actual stories. But if you’re like me and can enjoy stream of consciousness raps, I think you’ll really like this album. And shit, they gave Danny Brown a chance. Give Brigham the same attention. There’s messages in there, there’s meaning, there’s a feeling of loneliness and isolation, there’s a hungry need to be heard–and that’s what makes for some of the best rappers out there.
And in truth, when you’re trying to drop bars over these kind of intricate, incredible beats and sound bytes, you’re gonna struggle to be heard. But strain your ears. It’s worth it.
In fact, this may end up on my best of the year list. The more I listen to it, the more I hear–and the more I love it.