A new kidney hasn’t made P.O.S soft and introspective. On his return to action album Chill, Dummy, he’s as angry and pointed as ever. The album rages, with moments of reflection that turn outward instead of in.
The Minneapolis rapper has had an interesting evolution. He sprung up as a DIY punk-turned rapper, helped found the Doomtree collective, and released records on the seminal Rhymesayers label. This one is on Doomtree Records. While he’s always parlayed an aggressive sound, each release has gotten more dissonant. There’s less interest in atypical sampling on Chill, Dummy, instead going for an abrasive sound that matches his ferocity.
It seems that every P.O.S record begins with a pointed political statement. This time around it’s in “Wearing A Bear,” as he plainly spits, “Some of you thought racism was over because we had a black president.” Mind you, this was recorded well before the 2016 US election that will not be mentioned again in this review. The song itself is also one of the album highlights, with a more popping beat (by Doomtree crony Lazerbeak) that adds an air of levity amid the heavy lyrics. It’s a mix of hip-hop culture, indie/punk culture, politics and wordplay that covers far more depth than any 2:41 should come too. It also includes some playful outtakes mid-track, which humanize the record amid the serious lyricism. Humility is one of P.O.S’ redeeming charms. The songs are harsh and brutal, but with an open modesty that converts the microphone to a pulpit, separating the man from the speaker.
The other big standout is “sleepdrone/superposition,” which is the personal moment everyone expects after an artist has a publicized health scare (with crowdfunding support). On it, P.O.S covers the awkwardness of fandom, the pain of recovery and the artistic process.
All I want is to chisel my initials into something permanent now/
And raise these damn kids, and make my mama proud/
And mutilate a couple crowds/
And all I want is to make art, keep takes, break what they say it is.
It’s a personal statement, done his way. That’s exactly what Chill, Dummy is: it’s not a return from hiatus, did-you-miss me album. This is a personal, angry and piercing record that announced P.O.S is back and, while he appreciates the support, he’s ultimately doing this for himself.
8.0 / 10
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