You can count on one hand the number of Twin Cities hip-hoppers worth giving a damn about. For each profoundly gifted, thoughtfully artistic act like Junkyard Empire, Dessa, or Truth Maze, there’s a glut of witless dolts like Prof, Guante, Carnage, or this latest waste of a recording studio to come across my desk, ECID with his artless new album Werewolf Hologram.
Werewolf Hologram is absolute artifice. An abundance of shrewdly produced music doesn’t obscure or mitigate the pedestrian pap passing here for rap. A simplistic sow’s ear all the slick engineering in the world cannot turn it into a silk purse. It’s all about posing and posturing; attitude sans aptitude. Period.
A mundane “Werewolf Hologram” leads off the album and is a perfect example of the rest of this material. Whistling keys strut and stroll in what, surprisingly enough, is a few interesting measures before the vocal blows it, formulaic, the same manufacture, paint-by-number cool you’ve heard dozens of guys effect. The lyrics are what one would hardly call inventive. “Fuck the vanity/ I’m cashing in my sanity tokens/ Love is battery acid now/ Your face is really smokin’/ What pretty moment/ Yeah the portals open/ Let’s dive inside and pass out drunk in a frozen ocean.” Hunh? Contrived is about the best that can be said of this ersatz attempt at poetry. “Men Kill Men” is of similar pretension, just with a supposed twist of social conscience. “We’re living in a fucked up crazy world/ Men kill men over stupid girls/ We judge each other by the size of your fists/ And do and say anything to get rich.” Profanity does not constitute passion. And stating the obvious does not constitute profundity. On top of which the tedious, overblown music track–synth percolating staccato, accented by dramatic fuzz tones—takes a week and a day getting started before plunging into a ponderous dirge.
Werewolf Hologram’s one moment of legitimacy is “I Heart Gravity” and how it made it through the final cut is a mystery. Unlike the disc at large, imagination actually went into this cut. Instead of leading with a head-fake instrumental echo, then doing a tired okey-doke, ECID comes with a throbbing, Chicago-blues laced, rock edged accompaniment to intelligently crafted thoughts and words. It starts with the refrain, “Heeeve ho–breathe deep, breathe carefully/ The ground broke up with gravity now we’re floating to therapy.” Then the opening verse, “I got more sole than a sneaker fiend with a nerd rap fetish/ You got it? You get it?/ Gotta get a head of the apathetic rat race and assassinate/ Malicious hipster bitches addicted to psychedelics.” Yeah, okay, that last line is sexist, but it still works. However, the muse put a foot up the man’s asterisk for this one. It needs to happen to ECID a lot more often.