(Purple Bird Music : 2010)
It’s the usual Hip Hop idea that death is good for business, in fact as Goldie Lookin’ Chain once devoted a song to- whatever genre you’re in an unfortunate demise is likely to make your career. Amidst the cynical profiteering the mainstream so gleefully indulges in though there is a slightly haunted air around a post-mortem release featuring the deceased which was only half finished before death. Mercifully the denizens of the underground don’t need to greedily rinse death to accept it.
That Mr Thumbs went ahead and made sure the tracks already completed for their planned joint album were released (for free, no less) is a nice testament to a talented life cut short. The acknowledgement given to openly stating that Geoffrey “Dutch” DuValle had turned into Dead Geoff as an independent aspect of the albums release rather than just a statement of fact is also a novelty given that it outlines a sense of poignancy to the release without seeming like opportunism.
That fairly marginal aspect of things aside thought there’s a good album here. ‘Nerd Rap’ is probably the term that springs to mind first, or that familiar wall of abstractions Aesop Rock-ish feel. Which is very much a matter of taste, depending on whether you think Aesop is a lyrical genius or just a bit pretentious, overly verbose and not half as smart or deep as he thinks he is. Personally I alternate between the two, whilst begrudging the demands he places on the listener to put faith in his abilities long enough to spend the time dissecting the questionable content I do think there’s something beautiful in the chaotic imagery he creates.
To bring that back to this release though I actually think Mr Thumbs and Dead Geoff indulge the randomness ever so slightly more efficiently than Aesop does himself. It’s only an aspect of the album it should be said, appearing on tracks like ‘Famine to Riches’, but where it’s there the hectic verbosity is given an individualism which A.R. always lacks as his personality is consumed by the lyrics – so the listen here is no less chaotic but at least a little more identifiable.
Beyond that though this is a slightly glitchy, slightly 8bit and slightly old school Hip Hop release with some occasionally too jingly but consistently tight production. As I mentioned, it’s very definitely at the nerdier end of things, with shots of confessional mixed in with randomness and the flows reflect that in a manner not wholly dis-similar to the likes of Coolzey and that’s a sound I can personally only take so much of but it is done well here and within the boundaries of what it is there’s not much to knock here.
One to commit to the collection anyway and a release which certainly deserves remembering for it’s strong points, it’s potential and the life it marks.