‘We Don’t Even Live Here’ deserves a listen
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 21:10
Kendrick Lamar’s debut studio album “Good kid, M.A.A.D City” may be at the forefront of hip hop albums released this week but don’t overlook the middle finger in the air anarchism of “We Don’t Even Live Here,” the fourth full length of the Minneapolis rapper P.O.S.
The Warped Tour veteran has built a career out of the anger of his rebellious archetypes, combing the anti-corporate fury of punk rock with raw beats that elevate his outcries for mutiny. “We Don’t Even Live Here” finds P.O.S. at his angriest; he’s an outcast who’s ready to start a rebellion if you’re willing to accept his fiery sermon.
The album’s main thesis is that P.O.S. is being undermined by the mainstream, government and other high profile authorities and it’s clear from the opener “Bumper.” Pounding double time bass drum blasts and shaky high hat hits are eclipsed by P.O.S.’ distain toward fake rappers and arrogant people who “cant even look in my eyes, nah, they on some nonsense, we on some nonstop.” “F*** your stuff” sports a massive chorus of anti-materialism. “My whole crews on some sh**, scuffin up your Nikes, spitting on your whip, kicking out your DJ, rock it and then we dip.” P.O.S.’ flow (which is always on point during the course of the album) is more tongue in cheek than Tyler the Creator, as if he has a giant smile on his face while he causes petty havoc. It makes for an anthem that remains accessible due to P.O.S.’ amiable disposition. He’s an angry punk kid, not a delusional psychopath.
“How We Land” features a sugarcoated chorus reminiscent of B.O.B’s “Nothing on you” and a celestial bridge thanks to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, whose hypnotic vocals add a new dimension to P.O.S’ sound. It’s the most pop–oriented song found on the album, and one that could spark interest from the mainstream, even if P.O.S. would rather set himself on fire than be heard on the radio. The production values of Kanye West’s trustworthy engineer Andrew Dawson are best found on the slow-burning firecracker “Lock-Pick, Knives, Bricks and Bats” and the grimy “Get Down.” The latter employs a grungy dance beat, slimy synths that ooze with second-hand smoke and spilled cheap beer. The former has some of P.O.S.’ most memorable lyrics to date: “goon-ish with a new-ish set of rules and a sharper set of teeth, I’m a lion with the eyes on the meat, Trying to find it in any of ya’ll, highly motivated, you can hear it in his speech.” The intensity in his voice and the ominous synths surround him builds for a visceral experience.
While the album is consistently angry and passionate, songs like “All Of It” and “Weird Friends” fail to impress. The choice in aggressive dance beats that pulsate with thick synth pads doesn’t correlate well with P.O.S.’ rhyming style, making for songs about being on the outside of the fringes cartoony caricatures. Even though these moments failed to grab me, P.O.S. still makes these instances interesting by building a distinct sound of fury. While “We Don’t Even Live here” isn’t as expansive or dynamic as “M.A.A.D City,” it will be an interesting and explosive listen if you have even an ounce of cynicism in you.