Edan: Beauty and the Beat
In the hip-hop world, one thing you don't see a lot of is consistent albums. They were rare back in the day and they're even rarer today thanks to the countless producers and guest stars on every album. Hip-hop has always been built around the killer single, not the epic album - and that's okay, because funk is best served in three-minute slices anyway.
With that said, holy shit. Where did this guy come from? I don't know who Edan is, but Beauty and the Beat is epic and it's fucking spectacular. Each song works both as a single and as part of a cohesive whole. The album is built around trippy, heavy, fuzzed-out samples from countless old psychedelic albums. This isn't Three Feet High and Rising, though: Beauty and the Beat's psychedelia is blistering, cosmic, and distorted. Edan's rapping is ferocious, reminiscent of Kool G Rap at times, and sounds genuinely inspired by an old-school vibe without being self-consciously "old skool" ala Jurassic Five or some other cornball bullshit act that don't deserve to be mentioned in the same paragraph as this guy.
Rap is over twenty five years old and you know what? I think it just got its first genuine listen-with-your-headphones-on, blow-your-mind album.
PS: I don't often agree with Pitchfork, but they jizzed all over this album too.
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