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Old 12-20-2011, 09:49 AM   #66
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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4.) Sims – Bad Time Zoo


Sims is the second member of Doomtree (along with Dessa) to place solo albums in my top 10. Bad Time Zoo is a loosely Ray Bradbury-influenced account on living a modern life in a modern city; check out the Bradbury short story The Veldt, which is also the name of a song on this album. It’s very lyrically tight, and Sims has an easy-going-though-wordy flow throughout the album that charismatically emphasizes through keen delivery the themes inherent in the lyrics. Sims doesn’t just ride these beats, he embodies them.

And, oh, these beats. Let’s talk about these beats. Bad Time Zoo is entirely produced by Lazerbeak (who is one of my absolute favorite producers in hip-hop), so there’s so much horn and soul sampling being layered on top of heavy-ass drums that is ‘Beak’s signature. The beats are pretty dynamic and they range from doom-jazz like on “Burn It Down” and “Too Much” to familiar Doomtree rap beats like on “Radio Opaque” to the ethereal, indie-rock inspired “When It Rolls In” and “Sink or Synchopate.” And as much as the Cecil Otter-produced beats on Doomtree’s group album, No Kings, are ahead of their time (see #3 on my list), the secret track that appears a couple of minutes after the last track ostensibly ends goes even further beyond anything on No Kings. This song, appearing after “Hey You,” is linked above. It’s an autobiographical account of the fear Sims felt as his girlfriend was going in for an emergency organ transplant and the subsequent organ rejection that happened. The lyrics and delivery and powerful and frightening, but the beat behind them – loopy, distant synths and wave after wave after wave of symbol crashes – brings the whole thing to panic-attack-inducing levels. It’s perhaps the single most striking and original rap song of the year. People have really slept on this album and I don’t really understand why. It’s remarkable in so many ways.





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