Busdriver: Jhelli Beam (Anti-) 

Like an auctioneer on speed, Busdriver's impressively fast rhyming skills help him stack the strange, intriguing Jhelli Beam with a word count generally reserved for major Russian literature.

Jhelli Beam, with both live instrumentation and programmed beats, highlights Busdriver's loquacious, throaty rhyming. It also features appearances from Nick Thorburn of Islands (on the middling "Happy Insider") and John Dieterich of Deerhoof (on "Fishy Face"). Meanwhile, "Me-Time (With the Pulmonary Palimpsest)" transforms Mozart's "Sonata in A Major" into a clever backing track.

Busdriver's hilarious, maddening and bizarre rhymes make the album appealing and exhaustive. Anti-club anthem "Sorry, Fuckers" hits brilliantly with, "You're from Hollywood / You get your sphincter bleached / Sit your ass home and eat your quiche," while raps like, "My cardigan reeks in partisan pink / Because I'm Baron Fink in the Martian sphinx," from the trembling "Scoliosis Jones," are Dada-esque. Nonetheless, guest Nocando scores the album's best raps on "Least Favorite Rapper," shouting down other MCs ("Your favorite rapper's got Alzheimer's / Repeats himself like an old-timer / He works harder than a coalminer / When it comes to picking ghostwriters"), mocking Michael Richards' infamous rant (mimicking it to the letter) and pointing out the discrepancy in rap demographics ("The suburban kids say I'm not street enough / But compared to them I'm street as fuck").

A hip-hop album with a delivery both playful and fierce, Jhelli Beam works for those comfortable with such musical paradoxes.

More by Michael Petitti


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