When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
Rapper Sean Daley (Slug) and DJ/producer Anthony Davis (Ant) have been representing Minne-ho-ho with pride for nearly 15 years, inspiring a slew of underground hip-hoppers in the process. The duo has always fit in rather well with the alt-indie rock crowd, thanks not only to their DIY distribution (they own the Rhymesayers label), but also to their aggressive sound and dark, vivid subject matter. Slug’s litany of downtrodden and despicable characters continues, only this time around, he's toned down the rhetoric a bit, trading in some of the anger in favor of introspection — more observer (and participant) than analyst. Musically, the synth-driven beats are more understated as well. The rueful lap-steel guitar on “Painting” perfectly captures the mood of regret, but “Yesterday” (again with acoustic piano) is a soulful, even gentle reminiscence about an old flame, and “Guarantees” has only guitar behind the rhymes. Tunde Adebimpe assists on “Your Glasshouse,” a chilling morning-after lament of spins, chills, dry heaves, and a “phone full of missed calls,” and “The Waitress,” a jazzy, flute-infused reflection, has the distinction of a beatboxing Tom Waits.