When I Die, Call My Momma
Kevin Abstract - 2014
808s and Heartbreak is often considered Kanye West's worst album, which speaks volumes to the quality of his discography. And though more traditional rap records (Late Registration, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy) are widely celebrated as highlights of the genre's history, 808s is seminal in the way none of Kanye's other albums are, in the fact that it birthed the genre of emo rap, and six years later the sub-genre rules hip hop; iLoveMakonnen, Drake, Kid Cudi and Childish Gambino are all superstars, and are heavily influenced by the emotion portrayed in 808s. However, 808s has had an edge over every single emo rap record that followed it, and that was that it is heavily experimental. Kanye traded in joyful soul samples for stark synths, the genre's most famous sampler sampling nothing at all. And while there have been some impressive emo rap albums released (because the internet, take care), nothing has touched the sonic ideas that made 808s so divisive and challenging (something Kanye would tackle again in last year's Yeezus). Enter Kevin Abstract.
Kevin Abstract wrote MTV1987, an album that paints honest and compelling snoic picture of teenage life, at seventeen years old. songs touch on depression, isolation, drug abuse, and the general feeling of worthlessness that all teens struggle with. 808s and Heartbreak was., above all, an album for adults who are left in a state of feeling like a teenager, hormonal and angsty after a harsh breakup. MTV1987 is for teenagers left feeling like adults. Its twelve tracks carry such emotional weight, it's hard not to get lost in Abstract's thoughts. Most of these songs morph around his concepts, and for a rapper at such a young age to be able to focus in on a few themes for songs as long as seven minutes is a gift not many are able to say they possess. However, It's not just the strong writing on the album that makes it such a fascinating body of work. Abstract owes just as much credit to his producer, Romil. The production on MTV1987 is a powerhouse, with influences from big-room EDM, Ariel Pink hypnagogic pop, psychedelia, and shoegaze, with swirling synths that drive as well as hypnotize. It toes the fine line between total melancholy and pure joy, the blueprint of all great pop music. I could go on and on about this art-damaged hip hop masterwork, simply because it finally takes the experimentation and ambition emo rap was founded on and meant for, and explores it instead of staying within the tight boundaries any genre founded on just one album would have. Take a listen, and you'll see; MTV1987 is simply the record we didn't know we needed to push the genre of emo rap, and hip hop overall, forward.
Listen to: hell / heroina
GENRES: POP RAP, EMO RAP, EXPERIMENTAL HIP HOP, CONTEMPORARY R&B, PSYCH-POP, SYNTH POP
Posted by Michael Di Gennaro