It’s an odd conceit to suggest that there may be other creative LA rappers who mock celebrities, rap about murder, and loathe Kid Cudi and every last drop of liquid cocaine clogging his cranium. Call me crazy, but there might be one or two who formerly recorded for the same label as the guy previously nicknamed Mr. I Don’t Give a Fuck. And maybe, just maybe, his new largely-ignored record features beats from the guy who was the O.G. straw-man for the hand-wringing and scarf-swaddled set.
Granted, Lamont lacks the ability to be dissected and re-packaged to amp the cool quotient for click-hungry lifestyle magazines. And perhaps he’s not the most innovative artist of all-time. But in a diffuse landscape scarred by a surfeit of free content, it seems that attention gravitates towards the most outwardly bizarre or those with a narrative ripe for the media to mythologize and mangle. Odd Future have both, and they’re obviously gifted. But we’ve arrived at a point where the music seems to be of secondary importance to brand-building (an extra-musical quality that artists theoretically shouldn’t even have to consider.) Besides, Bishop’s saga is pretty standard. The Aftermath-rapper-exits-label hell-with-sanity-scarcely- intact angle has been previously mined by Joell Ortiz and Raekwon. Though if it’s any consolation, Shawshank Redemption has a couple songs that can be wrongly pigeonholed as “horror core.” And horror-core is so hot right now (word to Mugatu).
For those late to Lamont, the Carson-raised rapper has a lengthy and strong discography of deceptively bizarre music, including but not limited to, songs about his hatred of Scientologists, the time he accidentally tried to fuck Talib Kweli’s wife, and an entire mixtape dedicated to South Park (no Ganksta N-I-P.) His latest features beats from Dre, Quik, Lord Finesse, and Bink, plus guest spots from Busta Rhymes and Kurupt. I have a few words about Shawshank Redemption at Pop & Hiss. The tape has filler and several weak guest turns, but trimmed down to its best dozen songs, it’s a vivid reminder why he once had next on Aftermath. Maybe he just needs a Tumblr.
ZIP: Bishop Lamont-“The Shawshank Redemption” (Left-Click)