My consumption of Hip Hop has dropped dramatically over the years, it was for a brief spell all I would agree to listen to until the general hate speak spouted by some of the 90’s bigger names forced me out from under my rock…and I started listening exclusively to Joy Division again. But anyway, by no means a connoisseur of street rhymes, I’ve always maintained a casual interest and I’ve always been particularly intrigued by Rap releases on non-Rap labels (Ipecac, for example)…I’ve always wondered what ethos attracts one act to an atypical label and what qualities these artists possess that make the label think them a comfortable fit for their beloved roster. In this instance, I’m looking at Social Studies on Daddy Tank Records (whom we’ve covered before, here)

Today’s TOTD is “The Wapner,” the leading track on the new self-titled EP from Social Studies, which follows up their impressive Proxemics debut.  It doesn’t take too long to see how they made a home on the bizarre bedroom label, Chris Devoe’s beats are huge discordant drones contrasting against sharp shards of musical white light, while MC Zano’s oblique flow ranges from enviably intelligent rhymes to just manically yelling out odd references to The O.J. Simpson trial. Not a million miles away from the creeps from the creeks that generally issue wildly off-kilter electronic masterpieces on the Birmingham based label, in fact depending on who you ask, Social Studies aren’t even the only Hip Hoppers on the label, with “Future Hip-Hop” stalwart Suck Susan’s completely instrumental take on the genre making for a pleasantly eye opening listen. “Experimental” would usually be the word but it really doesn’t sound like anyone here is experimenting, this feels incredibly natural and it sounds very strong…I much prefer the idea that similar to Dälek, Social Studies are presenting an “Alternative” to Hip-Hop, as opposed to purposefully experimenting on the old formulas. So yeah, give Daddy Tank one more platinum plaque and fuck rap, you can have it back. WORD.



Words by Jamie Hallaman

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