Most hip-hop acts don’t make debuts like Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam. Then again, Ghostpoet, who hails from the United Kingdom and raps just as much as he produces, isn’t like most hip-hop acts. With his drunken, off-kilter flow and dubstep-ish beats, he handled all the elements of his debut on his lonesome. The focus here is solely on Ghostpoet’s undeniable talents as both a storyteller and a producer.
In a way, Peanut Butter Blues sounds like what Slick Rick might have made if he drank a little bit more, slowed down his flow a touch, and loved messing with synthesizers, drum machines, and laptops. Ghostpoet, too, enjoys recapping his nights and days through his rhymes. But where the two differ greatly is in Ghostpoet’s narrative being very much based on his personal life. He rarely departs from his laid-back approach, but when he does, it’s done to complement the subject matter at hand, like on album-closer “Liiines.” Across the track, his voice bleeds through the chaos of live drums, guitar, and piano as he provides a glimpse into his creative process. Even simple rhymes like “I keep on scribblin’ in this spare room I’m livin’ in” make an impact when delivered through his hurried, albeit still meditative, flow. This occurs earlier in the record, too, on “Us Against Whatever Ever,” which stands as the closest thing to a love song on Ghostpoet’s record.
But even when he’s in his zone of drunken, near-grumbling, Ghostpoet is relentlessly intriguing. This remains true whether he is contemplating his plans for the evening (“Longing for the Night”) or rehashing said evening and its booze-laden exploits (“Cash and Carry Me Home”). And a big reason for his success here is his production, which he handled. His self-producing the album allows for complete creative control and its pure sense of cohesion as one track flows seamlessly into the next. He leaves his machinery behind a few times, such as on the live band antics of “Finished I Ain’t” and “Liiines,” which, perhaps, are a glimpse into what he intends to bring forth on his sophomore effort. Otherwise on Peanut Butter Blues, he blends together elements of electronic, dubstep, and hip-hop for a gripping, melodic, and chilling soundtrack to his daily exploits and deepest thoughts.