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Album Review: Survivor Series
Hip-hop is in a strange place. The awkward growing pains of leaving the bling era of the early 00's, rappers becoming more like pop stars, and most recently, the advent of alternative hip-hop. Artists like Tyler the Creator, Hopsin, and Death Grips, with thier off-kilter beats, abrasive melodies, and most importantly, an emphasis on aesthetics rather than substance. This alternative style has not only attracted the Pitchfork crowd, but even well established rappers, taking thier angle on this new style of hip-hop (here's looking at you Kayne West).
For Survivor Series, Fresno's Jamie Nelson (under the moniker Cockamamie Jamie) ignores the current wave of edginess, and continues with what he is known for from his with indie-rap duo The Argyle Pimps. Irreverent humor swirled with slick rhymes, interwoven references and callbacks to all facets of pop culture, Nelson's work is refreshing, smart, and funny, without compromising integrity that is so crucial to hip-hop heads.
The nine-track album is a retelling of Jamie's hiliarious personal expriences, and each song tells and individual event throughout his life, which although slighly exaggerated, still feel grounded and realistic. Its like that one story your friend always tells after a night of drinking, and as the years go on, its gets more and more outlandish, although the core of the story is still intact.
"Henry" tells the story of a simple pickup game of basketball which escalattes into "Nelson" having a fist fight with a little person who is ten years older. The standout track, "Apartment Complex" details a situation we are all familar with: the perils of tolerating with egregious living conditions for cheap rent, and sharing a confined space with clashing roommates and their personalities. Its funny, extremely relatable, and downright clever. The song exemplifies every Nelson aims to execute throughout the record.
What makes Survivor Series work is Nelson's ability to take his anecdotes that are so indicative of his personality, and then craft them to make them applicable to the listener, making them feel not as they are an outsider, but as though they are experiencing the outrageous stories the album contains. Mix in the flow and technique that beckons the comparison to Aceyalone, Abstract Rude, or even De La Soul, and clever references to video games and early 90's pop culture, you got yourself a sold hip-hop album.
You can check out the record Survivor Series at Cockamamie's Bandcamp.
Cockamamie Jamie will also be performing all over town, including this years giant Fresno festival Catacomb Party.