Review: Angry Blackmen – REALITY!
National Music Reviews
Angry Blackmen = Death Grips + JPEGMAFIA + Wolf Eyes
Chicago-based experimental rap duo Angry Blackmen are back with their latest work, REALITY!. Working to build their own sound and break conventions in their art, the four-track work is captivating and inspiring—a showcase of what two young artists in 2021 can do when given the opportunity to make whatever they want.
REALITY! is raw. It has an energy to it that can take listeners to a gritty frame of mind. Using instrumentals and samples that can be jarring in some tracks, Angry Blackmen demand the listener’s attention with punchy kicks and harsh snares. The artists appear to be leading the listener to their artistic pulpit, preparing them for a sermon on being a Black artist in America today.
Songs like “HAYWIRE,” though experimental, remain incredibly catchy and easy to listen to. The song employs a bouncy, distorted beat that works perfectly with the artists’ vocal delivery. They rap, “Bam Bam bedrock / Bam Bam Flinstone / Pray upon a wishbone/ Hit them in the shin bone / Uncut gemstone,” filling the track with energy and excitement.
As a whole, the album follows thematic trends seen on Angry Blackmen’s earlier work, combining catchy musical elements with experimental sounds like “HAYWIRE.” They’re an experimental and woke duo, shifting ideas of what rap and hip hop could be. In songs like “VOMIT,” the production throws itself at the listener, mixed as high as the vocals are—including clicking and grinding sounds that rhythmically move the song along in a combination of noise music and hip hop production.
Thematically, the song “REALITY” is a great study on being a young Black man in the United States today. Angry Blackmen express what the harsh realities of life mean to them, what they need to do to cope with the pain of existence, and how young black men are forced to watch their back as they navigate their lives. They rap: “[I’m] in the past, from addiction, head spinning from this liquor not to mention all this tension feeling trapped in the trenches.”
If you’re looking for a summer jam that can broaden horizons, Reality! is a good work of art to check out. Be sure to follow Angry Blackmen for more releases: soulspazm.ffm.to/reality –Taylor Hartman