Molemen – Killing Fields

Molemen - Killing Fields

While most eyes are planted firmly on the South, there’s another hub that’s been slowly flanking, ready to take hip-hop by surprise. Fifteen years ago, Common first described the Chicago landscape on “Can I Borrow A Dollar?” Over the last while, other Chicago artists have mobilized, Kanye with his soul infused hip-pop, Rhymefest continuing in Common’s lyric heavy tradition. Now, it’s The Molemen’s turn. Panik, Memo, and PNS make up the Windy City production crew and their latest album, The Killing Fields will turn some heads.

Molemen drops a distinctive sound backboned by hypnotic keyboards. Is that a harpsichord I hear buried in track seven, “Blackhand Clap”? The team keeps their end of the pact, delivering layered and unique beats. The album is all syrupy, head bobbing, drive slow music, something that’s been missing from hip-hop and a welcome complement to all the hyper-infused southern production.

As with any album built around a single production team, there is the threat of monotony. But, The Mole Men enlisted a motley crew of rappers and there’s hardly a weak link. There’s the aforementioned Rhymefest bringing his patented word play (“Proven ‘em Wrong”) and Del the Funky Homosapien kicking his alphabet flow (“Scarlet Letter”). There are a couple of skips. For instance, “My Alien Girlfriend” about, yep, an alien girlfriend, was too hokey, but not hokey enough to pull it off (Staring at her space tits/ trying to hold my tongue back). But Kool G Rap and hokey have never been in the same sentence and he makes up for it with the raw “Full Metal Jacket.”

Watch out, heads, Chicago soldiers have infiltrated hip hop. But as long as the music stays well produced and well written, their presence will be a welcome one.

Max Arambulo

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