Three years ago‚ Nas proclaimed hip hop to be dead‚ and though Anti-Pop's reunion album Fluorescent Black isn't interested in reviving mainstream rap‚ APC is as relevant and perhaps more necessary today than ever before. MC's are constantly spouting off about being the "future" of rap‚ but M.Sayyid‚ Beans and High Priest actually sound like the future--constantly varying their slam poetry speed‚ often in contradiction of the spacey electro-beats created by Earl Blaize. This clash in tempos makes Fluorescent more challenging than your average club banger‚ but also more unique.
"Lay Me Down" opens with what sounds like a Metallica shredfest in media res‚ before drawling into a synth-heavy beat and reintroducing the world to the dormant collective. Stream of consciousness lyrics‚ varying in topics from cannibals wearing chef aprons to conservatives with toilet paper "countin' every square‚" highlight APC's verbal skill. "Shine" is a rare moment when the flow‚ beat and topic remain consistent for an entire song‚ pointing to APC's commercial potential if only they cared. "Shine" tells the amusing tale of a gangsta artiste who not only has "gallery to gallery‚ curators callin'" for his paintings‚ but also has more "bitches fallin' on him" than they mention in Art Forum.
APC are occasionally guilty of weak one line choruses that confine the group by the old rules they were setting out to vaporize in the first place. Sparse choruses like "C Thru U" function as placeholders‚ allowing the group to catch their collective breath rather than progressing the songs further. Fortunately another rap convention‚ the dreaded skit interlude is replaced with techno exploring instrumentals that speak to APC's talent with computer age sounds. On "Get Lite‚" vocal repetition tips its' hat to the classic sound of a record skipping‚ but the skipping sounds more like a computer buffering a file than scratched vinyl. It's hard to know what the future will really sound like‚ but in the meantime APC have found a way to sound modern that's light years ahead of auto tune.