BY MATTHEW HENGEVELD Much like jazz music, hip-hop is a pliable and elastic form. From the Beastie Boys’ meshing of punk and hip-hop to Gansta Grass’ awkward bluegrass/hip-hop fuckcluster; rappin’ has found a method of adapting to just about any genre, for better or worse. So, with the recent rise in aggressive hip-hop, characterized by the sudden uber-popularity of Odd Future, it seems natural that hip-hop should crossover to one of the most bone-crushing genres of all time, drum and bass. The precursor of modern dubstep, DNB might be the most ‘social’ music since the Jazz Age, but like a spoiled child it does not play well with others. The question is how can DNB be ported into the realm of hip-hop without one cancelling the other out? Crossovers should retain strong elements of hip-hop and DNB/dubstep. That’s where Elucid steps in.
Elucid, a Brooklynite who sounds a lot like Party_Arty (R.I.P.) of DTIC, has taken this goal to task with his two-part mixtape Super Chocolate Black Simian. The sound incorporates a heap of dubstep influence, but retains the ultra-dark sound and hyper tempo of DNB music, with a focus on 8-bit synthwork. The album was produced by an onslaught of producers, including Breakage, Lorn, Dibia$e, El-P, Jamie Vex’d, Mexicans With Guns, Skream and more. But it’s not all low, grumbling synths. Tracks like “Braking for Zombies” is littered with the sounds of dogs barking, children yelling and rapid-fire snares. Dub DJs love to yell over tracks, usually getting washed out by the music— this is the basis for Elucid’s rapping. He is almost completely drowned out by the beat. This makes deciphering Elucid’s verses a task in itself, but proves to heighten the album’s dark edge.
“Nobody’s askin’ questions, they just want a job / Put their ears to my message, survey says fuck the dumb” is the hook to his cyber-punk anthem “Fuck the Dumb,” which sounds to me like a caustic, Bill Maher-style diss of Teabaggers. Other tracks are filled with violent mayhem, mass slaughter and other not-ready-for-Sunday-School topics, but are conveyed with the kind of stoicism-in-the-face-of-abomination that you’d expect from, say, Jeffrey Dahmer or Richard Kulinsky . Elucid’s violent outbursts are often coupled with Islamic imagery about jihad and whatnot. “MEANR” is the pinnacle of this aggression, with lines like “I’m top dollar / bring me the head of Justin Bieber.”