SlumLord88 - Funeral Music

Harold Stallworth is still spending bitcoins from ‘88.

What kind of music can you imagine being played at your very own funeral? It’s a morbid question, to be sure, but one that Chicagoan bedroom producer SlumLord88 aims to answer with his latest beat tape, Funeral Music. Presumably, the title is indebted to a 50 Cent record of the same name, which was born out of G-Unit’s short-lived feud with Cam’ron in 2007. But Slum isn’t in the business of burying rap careers. Funeral Music is a dark, hazy celebration of death—a hip-hop second-line parade, where the glutted banks of Slum’s SP-303 stand in place of sousaphones and parasols and marching snare drums. And like so many worthwhile beat tapes, it leaves you with the bittersweet regret that the bulk of its tracks weren’t entrusted to your favorite rappers. Throughout the length of the tape, Slum teases with the prospect of pairing his lo-fi excursions with some of the most distinct and distinguished voices in black music: Billy Danze, Guilty Simpson, Prodigy, Nas and even Prince, among others, appear by way of fragmented acapella punch-ins, often several couplets at a time. Their jarring vocals help to break up the inherent monotony of sample-based instrumentalism while also advancing Slum’s grim narrative, giving new meaning to the phrase “hip-hop is dead.”

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