Max Bell met the plug at Rose Bowl Flea Market
Clarity comes after excess and catastrophe. Hugh Augustine blew ten grand at 18. At 19, he got his passport stamped for the first time. The following year, when temporarily bound to a wheelchair, a greater lucidity followed. So it goes that Augustine is among L.A. rap’s most promising, someone who offers a wizened perspective and directness.
“Family” is another earnest missive from Augustine’s Massimo Ciabatta, which dropped in July via Alpha Pup imprint The Order Label. The $tacks supplied beat weds dynamic, damaging percussion with warm chipmunk soul, which sounds much better in practice than on paper. The verses trace travails personal, societal, and familial, referencing everything from a year of homelessness, to financial and racial discrimination, to his aunt’s struggles with addiction.
Still, the song never becomes depressing. Scars both permanent and fading are bared. Success means a Spartan work ethic, and the strengthening of ties to family and friends. The hustle is rewarding, the circle collectively stronger for every individual triumph.
The visuals don’t reinvent the rap video, but they illuminate the ethos. Augustine cruises palm tree lined streets in a Van Exel jersey, consorts with barely clothed women, and rhymes with his clan bouncing behind him. All ends with a shot of Augustine kissing his late grandmother, who passed this past weekend. It’s a reminder of his foremost allegiance. A nod to our final opportunity for resolution.