Jonwayne_by_Theo_Jemison_22Tosten Burks stole Warren Buffet’s billion dollar prize.

It is likely that none but Stones Throw’s shaggy sumo philosopher Jonwayne are quoting Bukowski and sampling flamenco guitar in the same song. “The Desert” comes just as LA starts to smolder, complete with all the rich soil and thick blood necessary to survive in the Mojave dust. Wayne buries Paco de Lucía’s elegant string licks in the dirt with his bones – rapping nocturnal, carrying universes, looking for old passages of Sanskrit to burn.

This is rap as hieroglyphics, carved into a wall with a sharpened femur, uncovered millennia later under layers of sludge. Wayne’s free verse often looks best on paper (cheap composition books only, fuck Moleskin), except for when he affords himself this much open space. Leave drum loops for the weak and for those who fall for mirages of Diddy in a Fiat.

Post-intermission, Imperial Valley-by-way-of-Chicago’s Oliver the 2nd swoops in with a swaggy energy to restart your heartbeat. When he and his partner-in-crime Jeremiah Jae are together, they function as a Cool Kids for the art-gallery crowd, trading stylish, grinning horrorcore punchlines over the type of bangers Chuck Inglish might make if he had started doing shrooms in mud instead of buying convertibles in Hollywood. Here, Oliver stretches out in Wayne’s barren wasteland, flowing patiently, precise as a cactus needle, offering the sad sonnets of a sand prophet. A steezy compliment to the first verse’s daggers.

Linking to other recent heat from both artists, because both have released recent heat. Los Angeles’s earth has been quaking lately, but let this serve as a reminder that we’re also on the verge of fire season. It’s been a year of drought. The desert’s about to burn.




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