Wow, I never thought I’d be saying that I feel too old to be reviewing a P.O.S. album, but… much to my surprise, this project was handled by the likes of Pitchfork and the A.V. Club, and also given good reviews by these entities. Another surprising thing about this album is that nowhere do I see one Paper Tiger, original beatmaker in P.O.S.’s old group Doomtree, credited as producer. To be honest, though, neither he nor P.O.S. made much of an impression back in the day: it was Pitchfork’s description that always drew me to the Minnesota emcee, something about how what he was attempting was almost impossible, a viable fusion of punk and hip-hop into one.
One thing I do hear right away on Chill, dummy, or at least by track two track two “Wearing a Bear” (I’m guessing that’s slang for something, I won’t ask for what), is a certain Aesop Rock influence: there’s an undeniable city grid-informed tension along with a full invitation for quirkiness on the mic, evident in both P.O.S.’ style and Moncleas Boston’s on “Bully”: “I got the habits of a nerd / But I’m a motherfu**in’ bully”.
Now, this brings up a certain issue with this album, and arguably, with humanity in general at this point: the point of this song is essentially to propagate and encourage bullydom, and gone is the sense of humor we might have got with an Eminem talking about something like this (actually he’s famous for that “Whole school of bullies shot up all at one time” line in “I’m Back”). There’s no doubt at this point: it’s P.O.S.’s goal to overpower you, not finesse you, full evidence coming in the line in “Faded”: “I got a brick”, which of course calls to mind images of Ghostface Killah’s titular “fishscale” for anyone aurally seasoned in such regards, until you take in his next line which is “I got mortar”. This speaks of (a.) lack of slang and (b.) lunging toward a false iconic hip-hop image (crack-dealing)… so, we’ll see if this album takes us anywhere, now won’t we.
“Pieces/Ruins” is basically more Aesop Rock ripoff with no vision, at least until the chorus comes in which is relatively affective, bemoaning “All of the places we love that have been left in ruins”, all over a sort of Cubist, twisted dubstep beat which is hypnotic enough in a post-worldly sort of way. As far as the discussion of post-worldly hip-hop goes, at 33, I have to sort of weigh how much of this I want to invest in and how much actually applies to me… I feel as if in my life I’ve experienced a certain amount of “worldly” things, things involving a sense of humor, to where I hear this and I sort of get a red flag of caution going on. Still, I do see the point in it, to a sense: and I think this is great music for playing sports to, albeit a little eccentric for bars and stuff, saving for an especially eclectic and open-minded clientele. I’d say playing basketball would be the perfect environment for this music, which is by and large pretty original in the beats, if not necessarily in the rhyming.