Sapient, a Pacific Northwest, USA, hip hop artist (Portland, via Eugene, Oregon) has released a new album, Slump, which blazes a new trail in a genre that has been co-opted by the mainstream for some time now. It is a beacon in the blind, grasping search for new directions in which hip hop is currently engaged.
Sapient is a somewhat unknown veteran of the game, who has been making music since he was a child. His affiliations include the Portland clique Sandpeople, a duo called Debaser, and a collaboration with Living Legends member Luckyiam, in a group called The Prime. He has a home studio, where he records his albums and mixes and masters for other artists. All of this is done in support of his family – a wife and two kids, plus a third on the way (Congrats!).
So what do we get from Sapient on Slump? The man himself played most of the instruments – guitar, piano, and drums. (His mom dropped a few violin licks.) He is definitely a talented artist with a vision. The tone of the album is earnest and heartfelt. The tracks are think pieces with a bit of attitude. They have hip hop’s bass drum thump, which is sometimes lacking in today’s limp, guitar-driven indie and pop drivel.
It’s an ambitious tack that Sapient has taken here, mostly straying from the hubris that often characterizes hip hop, but adding the “urban” bite to pop rock that it sorely needs.
In some of my favorite songs on the album, the genres meld seamlessly. “The Dapper Mob” is plodding and intricate. I love the line, “Death before bedragglement.” The synth bass on this track is wildly funky.
“Went Like This” is a very dramatic track that has a great chorus. It features some home cooking from mom on the violin that fits perfectly, as well.
I can’t tell you how much I like the chorus lyrics, “Now I wither with her…” on “Gladys”. This might be the strongest track on the album, with its twists and turns and boomtastic drumbeat.
Sapient’s Slump is a refreshing piece of work that is well worth picking up. Its eclectic embrace makes it a good listen for most any time of day.
The first single from the album, “Shotgun in My Spaceship” is a really cool love song. A remix by Luckyiam is available for free download on Bandcamp where you can also pre-order or just plain order Slump (depending on when you’re reading this.)
Also, check out Slump videos on Youtube.
More about Sapient on his website.