I’m getting older. I know this partly because the main association of I have with “40″ is no longer as the O.G. drink of choice, but the age I will be in a year and change. But moreso than that, I can tell I’m aging because it seems that with each passing day I find myself less able to comprehend how it is that people actually like the trendy music and fashions of the day. I know that’s a natural development, but it’s not an ideal situation for someone trying to listen to, and then write about, new music.
Oh well, thankfully the internet, the medium that has actually sped music and fashion trend cycles up to warp speed, also readily provides an alternate to those trends. Case in point, the d.ark tape from Derek Christoff and The Arkeologists.
Derek Christoff is of course the government name of one D-Sisive, a born & bred Toronto emcee that I’ve mentioned and written about plenty of times here on the hill. The lesser known half of this duo is The Arkeologists, aka the production name of Norman Krates. Krates produced Kneecaps, a standout song for me on Derek’s debut The Book, and so my interest was piqued by them teaming up once more. It was super-piqued by the awesome bio that accompanies the d.ark tape, which I encourage you to read, but the ending stuck with me:
All raw. All songs recorded on a $200 8-track in one day. All first takes. Embrace the imperfections. No promotion. Keep it basement.
All raw. As it should be. When you think about modern hip hop, raw certainly isn’t the word that comes to mind. Sure, the language and subject matter might be raw, but the music itself feels contrived, staged even. This album is likely as far away from contrived as you can get. Two guys in a basement ripping off ten tracks because they’re compelled to create. Christoff’s verses still sound hungry as ever, but he almost has a world-weary approach on these songs, almost if he’s attempting to put the five years since The Book came out into perspective. And the beats. Gritty, soul-sampling tracks with chunky, headnod-inducing drums throughout the album. If this is imperfection, sign me up.