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CD Review: Rap/Electronic 

click to enlarge Young Paris, Rap/Electronic, (2013, Independent)
  • Young Paris, Rap/Electronic, (2013, Independent)
Black N Gold's 2012 CD Pet the Lights sparkled with expansive electro-pop arrangements, many courtesy of producer Steve Durand. It was a joyful, desultory affair, jumping from twinkling Afro pop to goth rock to a winking and brilliant David Bowie homage. The musical maximalism was paralleled in the global scope of Young Paris's lyrics. Since then, the prolific Hudson-based rapper has apparently decided that it is time to settle down, to go deep rather than wide. Young Paris's self-produced new release declares its style simply in the title: Rap/Electronic. On this recording, everything that was florid, spangled, and melodic about Pet the Lights is gone, in favor of a spare, hard, dance-floor minimalism.

The first three tracks are in some ways indistinguishable—four-on-the-floor grooves with tuned percussion on top and rapping that is self-referential, repetitive in a way that would give Gertrude Stein a run, and largely free of affect. But once this new aesthetic has been established, Young Paris loosens up, and a sense of play and an expanded production palette creep back in. The fourth and fifth tracks, "F Realm" and "KLAP," are two of the most compelling on this aggressive, collar-grabbing disc, with the latter achieving an ominous urgency that might remind the listener of the recent Kanye West hit "New Slaves." Rap/Electronic is, if nothing else, utterly committal and consistent, a record with one undeniable intent.

Speaking of...

  • John Burdick reviews the new album by Young Paris.

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