The name “Anticon” has always been a code for how you viewed what hip hop could be, not how it should sound. Last year, Anticon celebrated their 15th anniversary. Unlike their contemporaries Stones Throw, Def Jux, and Rhymesayers, there were no documentaries, festivals, or goodbye parties thrown in their honor. It’s hard to celebrate an entity that is loved by few, but exceeds all expectations. From core artists like Why?, Jel, Sole, Daedelus, Dosh, and doseone to Serengeti, Baths, Son Lux, Tobacco, and Young Fathers, Anticon brands anti-icons better than anyone.
Their roster has always lacked household names in the traditional sense, but the secret fo Anticon’s longevity was the long game: they have outlasted all the mom and pop record stores, message boards, and backpacker animosity that led to their early success simply by putting out records that were authentic to the brand. It’s tempting as an indie record label to overpay for the hot new buzz act to sustain relevance, or to bank on the trusty industry vet who will turn in any kind of record for a quick advance check. In an interview on Yoni Wolf’s excellent podcast The Wandering Wolf, doseone openly discussed the issues Anticon reached as a collective and as a business: what exactly constitued an “Anticon” signee?
Anticon is in the business of discovering, creating, and promoting bold music with balls. Rather than trot out 10 year anniversary releases of The Other Side of the Looking Glass, Ten, or putting the band back together for a Deep Puddle Dynamics tour, Anticon is presenting the new single “Crimson Across It” from their OG’s. Alias and doseone, core members since the Scribble Jam and HipHopInifinity.com days, are making the best work of their careers. The song resemebles nothing of their indie heyday when a look from URB Magazine was everything. “Crimson” is 808 punishment. “I used a Native Instruments Machine instead of MPC because I was bored and wanted to switch it up and keep it interesting,” says Alias in the press release. doseone is still sharpening his teeth on every beat that hits his inbox; couple his peformance here with his butterfly knife slaying on Picture Plane’s trap-heavy “Party in the Pit” and you have art rap’s Mephistopheles to “Rap God”.
Fans can preorder the new Alias album Pitch Black Prism. Rappers with admirable courage can step into the lion’s den with doseone. Anticon will be cashing checks and snapping daffodil necks.