Learning in lotteries of lots of dollars drafted in mockeries of cultural robberies. This is the String Theory from the most learned hoods coming to save the universes from bubbling into alternate travesties. Calculations on travesties of the most bland design where the worst are hawking our Black ciphers and the real get left in de grasse warring bar for bar against a pop cosmos. Every song is decisions made verse for verse and Herc’s cat is half dead and half alive in every quantum observation. And we observers observe the observation assuming we have nothing to do with the fate of the track’s decision.
That our intentions of what we will listen to for today affects the progressiveness or deterioration of what manifests tomorrow. That the classical tracks that roam the universe today becomes from the tiniest quantum choice that we make merging thoughts of particles of beats and waves of rhymes. Will we choose the pure particle of a premierely sharp snare over a punk stuttered high hat for a future groove? Will it be the witty wave of a deft lyric that sparks longer study or the pop catchall simpleton lettered immediacy?
One theory seeks to unify it all. Simply stringing out the particles so whispering waves, wilting amidst popular decay, now boom bap into rejuvenated excitation modes. With BBZ Darney on the boards and Hex One of Epidemic on the mic, the string harmonics reach a supersymmetry of hardcore aural meditation and endless fluidity of insightful retrospection.
While this decade of Hip Hop has the classical chronicled as the aged farcical, Hex One and his work with his rhyme partner Tek-Nition have produced some of the best LPs of the 10’s. Much of their excellence is based on their collaborative choices. Last year they teamed up with another MC, Dreamtek, and barred over a diversity of producers for The Bassment Tapes Vol. 1: Write To Remain Violent. However, for the most part they have highlighted one rugged underground beatmaker for their LPs. In this way, they made 2011’s Illin Spree with 5th Element, 2012’s Monochrome Skies with Jesse James and Esco for 2013’s Something for Tha Listeners. Those, all Boom Bap records of note and String Theory is another.
After the greatest of records established what Hip Hop’s true peaks can be others have mastered it. The billboard labeliers have even made biting acceptable with a mere statute on limitations placed on pioneers’ sales and time off wax. So now an Art of counterculture needs both innovation and preservation and most of the good albums are incredible executions of preservation. Hex One’s work has often fit this mold of preservation being efforts of pure skill and addictively acceptable hard beats. However, with String Theory, his MCing, deserving a deeper listen at the miniscule Planck-sized details of execution of skill that reaches a peak that is extra ordinary. The point of MCing where flow is so precise we hear arrangments of snares and high hats identically patterned to vowels and consonants. Where the monotonous breathless continuity refuses to end and passion of content begins to display itself. Where the contemplation of all this daily hell and strife is transmuted to Art as the layering of coupled of words and the synergy of syntax and bassdrums is repeated every four minutes. Hex One is listened to as an MC, of skill, honoring the craft in a decayed time, but here has subtly put a career peak of performance here as if all those other LPs were practice.
A listening music, Hip Hop can reach steady and workmanlike structures and only fiends are rewarded. Content is a key to the abnormal ill increase in effort by Hex One as BBZ Darney’s musicality for jazzy introspection is matched by retrospective insight. They are rooted in battle raps that uphold the creations of integrity as on “Currents” (“The string theory smear sentences sincerely/’Til kids hear me and give me millions of spins yearly… Yo I’ll be writing these incredible jams until my skeletal sands/And niggas read my shit with retinal scans…”) where Hex One verses with tactics of alliteration, layering all the syllables bar to bar and remarkably keeping a consistent cadence.
The depth of the album is that the rhyme means something and that is noted ill on “Rhythm of the Planet” as Hex One intros, “Define simple when a rhyme sticks to the mind’s temple/A fire’s lit that could blind fictional ties to physical signs central/To your eye’s visual be wise if you/Try to step to the mic it might resemble a Mayan ritual/Devise a stencil for lines describing what I’ve been through/Syllable science rips through typical spineless victims…” The metaphor of the science of the rhyme and the quest for a unified theory of the universe is dynamically explored. It is a metaphor that takes Hex One’s work to a focus of exceptional lines and creative visuals (“We swallow planets and freeze suns nigga we speak tongues/Creating civilizations with tribes liable to beat drums/The heat comes in large waves making head and abdomen part ways/Yo I’d rather travel than star gaze/This odd maze is entrapped in chasms and hall ways…”). The metaphors also allow Hex to paint the hells that engulf and the only possible ways out as on the doomed “Realities” (“His conscious tries to tell him that he’s righteous but my nigga we…”) and the warring “Theory of Everything” (“This shit isn’t really surprising to watch his body dematerializing/See he’s realizing to leave the environment that keeps him/He must seek the assignment’s completion…“) Throughout, the internal rhymes and melodic coupling becomes a mastered assonance naturally woven throughout for Hex One. It is an ideal example of what makes MCing the most enjoyably difficult lyrics to listen to in our recorded music history.
Beatwise, BBZ Darney uses subtle piano keys (“String Theory”), sometimes with pensive basslines (“All Beautiful”), organ notes (“Intergalactix”) or gorgeous flutes (“The 11th Dimension (Outro)”) to set the tone for the LP. Still as his name attests, Boom Bappin’ Zombie Darney has a strong understanding of the thudding break (“Reminisce,” “Lucid Dreams,” “Rhythm of the Planet”), rolling drums (“All Beautiful”) and sharp snare and hiccupped high hats (“Theory of Everything”) that make the ideal Boom Bap track we obsess over today. It all focuses Hex thematically and that makes the production more than the proper sum of its parts.
Ultimately, as Hex adds on in “Currents” (“I’m lost why do y’all see me as conscious/When I’m just a regular man on a secular plan/For grands trying to stay ahead of the lambs”) there is that consistent contradiction that the Hip Hop MC has not realized. That their effortlessness with words puts them in the position to make others enjoy their records…only. That their ability to offer insight, relate and articulate for a ghetto/Black/Brown populace and even suggest a mentality and/or ways for a better possible future is often dismissed as the listener’s over valuing (or an MCs ego expanding badly). Still, our men of the word, in such oppression, must all be expected to make flesh of it. And an MC that can say as much and as well as Hex One, may just be expected to relay much more than punchlines and clever metaphors as his career continues to peak. This is the subtle excitation possibility in String Theory that an archetypical Boom Bap record leaves when MCing is more than preservation but the beginning of other worldly innovations.