Journey to F-Sides,
Tucson's hip-hop artist Shaun Harris' new full-length record, finds the rapper refining his strengths, while building on them and adding a few new tricks.
Last year's EP Shock G Calls Me Chris was a breath of fresh air—devoid of posturing or personas, it felt like a day in the life of an extraordinary talent with a very ordinary life. And for the most part, Harris' lyrics and delivery remain relatively unchanged—he muses on mundane details of everyday life and their cyclical pattern of negative impact in a shrugged-shoulders, what-me-worry collision of self-deprecation and humor.
While "Exact Change Only" and "Left Tucson" follow this template to its logical conclusion with dizzying, loping production accentuating Harris weakening from the grind, he does display a more aggressive and assertive stance on "Heartache" and "Anything at All." Not coincidentally, both tracks feature guest appearances from Saer Uno and MC Moses, but Harris is far more malevolent than usual on his own.
"Lesser Jesus" is both the most immediate and unhinged song on "Journey to F-Sides." Over a crafty loop of the Animals' version of "The House of the Rising Sun," Harris boasts, but the title says it all: Claims of being a God MC or even a regular Jesus don't exist in Harris' songs. "Lesser Jesus" is also the turning point on the album—he stays in the excitable persona during the subsequent songs, which take this breakthrough until the life without surprises-theme that Harris excels at is refracted through a hall of mirrors that turns routine upside down and finds thrills in the little details.
Shawn Harris' Journey to F-Sides can be purchased at shaunharrisraps.bandcamp.com/releases.