It's not about Beans' writing. It's his way with words. “Killjoy taboo tattoo tongue left you unemployed like a celibate hooker.” Exactly. Now listen to him say it. Footnote: Shock City Maverick’s “Death by Sophistication.” There. Leaving the mouth, it’s a brand new day.
Listeners like Beans’ words. They hang more words on his words -- both his own or his with Anti-Pop Consortium. “Cerebral.” “Futuristic.” His words attract those words. He uses a lot of words. And his words demand Tomorrow Right Now. For a decade-plus and three solos. He’ll turn 40 this year. Maybe it’s time to end it all. Or just have a party.
End It All is Beans’ party. He plays host, friends bring beats. He has hosted before, clearly. “Yes, yes, y’all/ To the beat, y’all/ I’m rhymeski/ I freak a beat, I’m so unique, y’all.” Maybe too much. So he goes off-script. “Speak of freak/ I rock rock, cold as hell/ Cold shockin’ the house...” (“Blue Movie”). Too bad Posdnous isn’t here. Plenty of good friends, though. No, great friends. Ones that know what Beans likes: stuttah (That Kid Prolific’s “Forever Living Fresh”) and BASS (Bumps’ “Electric Eliminator”). Ones that know what Beans would like: duck speech (Four Tet’s “Anvil Falling”) and DUB (Fred Bigot’s “Hardliner”). Company makes this party.
Potlucks collect new flavors. And Beans gets open. “Electric Bitch” reminisces: “When I said yes to destiny/ And became an emcee/ Late ‘80s, late ‘90s a student investing my time/ Fast forward, press rewind/ KISS FM cassette.” “Electric Bitch” talks shit: “You and your crew of queens are Helen Mirren.” Fresh to death, it’s a celebration: “Deathsweater looks good on me.”
Never mind the ominous title, End It All feels like a fun detour -- the moment when the hero pulls off the highway and into the first bar. Oh, was that the right choice? True to form he encounters a carnival of characters. The needle is ripped off the record. Everybody stops. Stares and snarls. But he does that thing. It breaks the tension. They all hit it off. They get him. He gets them. It’s a one-night stand and soon after he’s back on the road. The break is a welcome release. Just enough pressure whistles out of the valve and both he and us can catch our breath. Shoulders unburdened, our hero can reset his sights.
After dropping three solo albums with full creative control over the raps and most of the production, Anti-Pop Consortium member Beans opted to ask his friends for some help on End It All. The 13-track, 33-minute album is his first to feature outside production. And the lineup he's gathered includes the likes of Four Tet, Tobacco, Son Lux, Interpol's Sam Fog, and Bumps, among others. Another notable guest is TV on the Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, who adds his trademark eerie vocals to “Mellow You Out.” This track finds Beans toning down is complex flow to weave his bars between Adebimpe's dark crooning.
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