April 11, 2014

Max Bell rolls them Rolls. 

If you listen to Texas rap, you’d be forgiven for thinking all similes and metaphors devoted to syrup slathered slabs had been exhausted. The abundance of references to dripping jheri curls, ice cream, etc. will inevitably dull the gleam of the proverbial paint job for some. Yet, once again, The Outfit, TX have assuaged all fears of regional stagnancy for those who prefer their rap wrapped in four Vogues.

The genius of comparing their rides to a glinting, suspended mineral deposit notwithstanding, “Stalactight” is the group’s best song since “My Street.” That’s not to say I didn’t like Cognac/Four Corner Room (review here). It’s just that, like Harden, Howard, and Parsons, The Outfit,TX work best when sharing the shine.

A loosie co-produced by the former drummer of Passion Pit, “Stalactight” probably could’ve been on the still much overlooked Starships & Rockets: Cooly Fooly Space Age Funk. That said, the song might feel out of place if tacked on now. It’s been nearly two years since that album dropped and there’s marked improvement here.

 

The group’s production has always hovered near the mothership, but here they’re completely aligned with it. The 808s, oozing bass lines, and skittering hi-hats are great. But the rubbery, laser-like synths laced throughout give their minimal cooly fooly funk a a new level of wholeness. And the chimes give the track an eerie ambiguity, suggesting both spectral marvel and the foreboding of tippin on foreign terrain. This beat is unquestionably the best sonic representation of their sound yet.

Lyrically, they’ve covered this ground before. Drugs are ingested and kush is blown. Check. Candy paint shines as cream-colored Scandinavian women shake and spread thighs wide. Check. However, it’s the delivery that matters most here. Regardless of who raps, the cadences have been carefully crafted. Knowing when to pause, when to speed up, and which word should receive emphasis isn’t easy. The Outfit, TX just make it look that way.

Above all, this track bodes well for whatever comes next in the “Texan Chronicles.” Personally, I’m hoping for a video that features thick women in neon grabbing stalactites while projections of Fat Pat play on cave walls.

Unfortunately, The Outfit, TX won’t be at that festival in Indio people are talking about. In a just world, they will be soon. For now, play “Stalactight” as you glide through the desert blowing greenery with crystals that look like small, well, you know.

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