Slava P rents a room in Soulja Boy’s tree house.
Sometimes you want a project that’s layered and heavy. Something you can chew on for months, dissecting it and adding it to your personal mythology before moving on. A project that you need to sit and take in for a few hours at a time to make sure you absorb every minuscule intricacy presented through lyrics and production. This summer the general public was gifted with multiple projects like this: projects that were created for the purpose of starting a conversation. Yeezus, Run The Jewels, Magna Carta, Watching Movies With The Sound Off, and to a lesser extent The Gifted and Born Sinner were all trying to be dense and over-thought projects. Thankfully, Avatar Darko & Nacho Picasso’s Vampsterdam is not this sort of project.
Vampsterdam is a free album that celebrates Dionysian tendencies while laying them outfor the world to marvel at. This hedonistic project is a collaborative effort from Seattle’s Nacho Picasso and Avatar Darko. Nacho has become a blog-darling in the past year for his clever, Cam’ron-meets-cartoon delivery. Mr. Picasso can be spotted throughout Vampsterdam using the project as a canvas on which he can preform the most debasing and outlandish lyrical acrobatics this side of Action Bronson.
Avatar Darko acts as the tag-team partner to Nacho’s ratchet tales — the Simon to his Garfunkel or the Bun B to Nacho’s over-the-top Pimp C. Avatar’s methodical approach to constructing verses with vivid situations and off-kilter references make him the stand-out talent on Vampsterdamn and make you wonder if he wasn’t in a serial killer in a prior life. The Russian rapper’s talents may have manifested as a result of his origins, coming from an overly-violent Russian society, but those talents are nevertheless on full display on Vampsterdam. More often than not, it’s the Russian rapper setting the bar for the song before Nacho comes in and lays down a complimenting verse, leaving you to wonder what a solo project from Avatar Darko would sound like.
This album is essentially easy listening trap music. There are beat contributions from all the big name hyper-piano-men such as Cardo, MegaMan, Blue Sky Black Death, and Araabmuzik. The only misstep involves the Seattle duo rhyming over an overly-syrupy Clams Casino beat, which dulls their normally sharp jabs and hooks into a mish-mashed sonic-stew, but most of the productions strikes the perfect balance between turning up and falling in line. As far as lyricism and pop-culture references go, there are plenty of Shameless, Recess and Kimbo Slice punchlines to remind you that both of these rappers are 90s babies. There’s also a line where Darko threatens to “pull out like an eBay bid,” which might be the greatest tech-sex reference since Jay Electronica asked you to go home and Google him.
Most of the themes on Vampsterdam revolve around doing a lot of narcotics, turning up, passing out, and then waking up and doing it all over again. If you can’t enjoy an album like that then feel free to go buy The Heist and support squeaky-clean Seattle rap. If you want a rap album that was birthed in the grime, then download this.
ZIP: Nacho Picasso & Avatar Darko – Vampsterdam (Left-Click)