Max Bell never gives up.
The second season of True Detective has been cast. If only Hanni El Khatib and Freddie Gibbs had auditioned, if only they acted. Instead, both would rather reflect on 2Pac in the desert in ’95: fresh from Clinton Correctional, Mad Max leather fetish in full effect. Gibbs took the rhymes and workout regimen to the abdomen. Khatib applied the aggression to the axe.
“Satin Black” is their trip to that arid plane. The dark luxury materials have been applied to the upholstery of the antique whip. Light glints off the paint and Gibb’s dome as he and Khatib switch lanes on the 110. The wind blows. The terror dome is on the horizon.
Throughout Khatib continues his mission to prove that he’s the ideal descendant of Blakroc; after all, his last LP was produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. His drums are harder than igneous; his distorted guitars sear like scorching desert sun. Gibbs, biologically incapable of rapping out of the pocket, walks on waves despite the destination and blacks out on all amateurs. Or something.
This kind of cross-genre collaboration has innumerable precedents (The Judgement Night Soundtrack still bangs). Few are as seemingly effortless and effective, so adept at straddling the line between two ostensibly disparate genres. Even fewer remind you the line has always been thinner than we’re taught to believe.
In the end, Gibbs signs off by letting you know that he, like Pac on “California Love”, can explicitly damage you without the expletives. Khatib offers his psych tinged blues to the ghost of DJ Screw.
Maybe their pairing on my imagined second season of True Detective would’ve been a disaster. Maybe not. At least their car rides would’ve had a great soundtrack.