The tag team of Blueprint and Illogic is the fulfillment of message board fantasies circa ’02. Eight years later, the second part of their Electric Purgatory collaboration has elicited mostly crickets around the Internet, save for the Bloggerhouse Crew. Then again, we now live in a UserShare universe, based on page views and one-sentence summaries. No need to offer a dull inside baseball diatribe about why everyone abandoned their backpacks. The reasons for their lack of critical vogue are complex. Blogs thrive on the me-first mentality that allows them to brand artists as their own. Internet tastemakers would rather crown obscure regional acts than tout two veteran indieground dudes prone to abstract flights of fancy. Columbus consistently gets no love. And y’know, times and tastes change.
I begrudge no one the right to their personal preference. But I will mourn the fact that I get besieged by PR e-mails hyping the Fader love for Young Gully’s Definition of Gas mixtape, when there is no oxygen in their universe for two of the best Underground rappers of the last decade. Maybe they should’ve swapped that Aesop Rock guest spot for one with Yung Moses. Or at least employed an over-priced publicist to help exhaust the hard drive space of collector’s who consume but rarely contribute.
Granted, there is nothing sexy about Electric Purgatory. There is no high concept contrivance that will allow them to rise above the cluttered media landscape. Writing about it will not earn any bragging rights. It’s just well-constructed rap music: intricate and intelligent lyrics about the fleeting nature of fame, what their art means to them, and obtuse invective aimed at “the mediocre”–backed by the sort of eerie claustrophobic beats that used to be the Underground’s bread and butter. They rap well and for the right reasons. And “Keep It Live,” with Aesop Rock, is one of my favorite songs of the year.
Too often criticism ignores the the consistent in favor of the spectacular and sporadic–it prizes the novel over the dependable. After all, that’s human nature. But that doesn’t mean that Blueprint and Illogic deserve electric purgatory–quite the contrary. It’s the sort of thing they deserve to be paid for. Instead, they’re giving it away for free. On their Band Camp, they wrote the note, “all we ask is that if you like it, PLEASE share it. Post it on your facebook page, retweet it, post it on your myspace, etc. If you have a blog, please post the download link there. We would like the music to reach as many people as possible, and for that we need your help, even if it’s just one person.” So that’s what I’m doing. –Weiss