by Joan Hiller


Wed Nov 12


Every good emcee pays attention to his or her roots; it takes a great hiphop artist to take those roots, filter them through one's own personal artistry and then catapult that mixture into the future as something altogether original. Dynamic. Forward-thinking. Beans, who brings fast flows to the wildly-popular, world-touring, Brooklyn-based Antipop Consortium, infused his debut full-length Tomorrow Right Now (Warp) with zany sonic twists, and turns over rhymes that often had more to do with concepts Issac Asimov might explore than thug life or ladies. If anything, Beans is a true literary emcee, spewing out onslaughts of fluid, mature dialogue that traverses several points in time over the course of one song with laser beam speed.

As much as the pacing of Beansâ his lyricism is forward-thinking; the rich palette of samples, sounds, booms, and beats he draws from are dusty as dusty can be, flavoring the broken, disjointed puzzle-pictures Beans paints with rich, roots-based tones. Sounds of hiphop's early golden years get laid thicker than molasses on tracks like "Crave," a nod to beatboxing, and "Phreek the Beat," which highlights the deep influence hiphop had on early electro (and vice-versa) in a synthy-sweet flow.

Jagged as he is liquid and archival as he is innovative, Beans' solo work is slightly hard to swallow for some APC fans, and the act of musically drawing dotted lines between the past and the present isn't a new concept for hiphop, of course. That said, Beans does what he does with such a heartfelt intensity and with such mature complexity that it's tough to tell that he's doing what his fellow artists are trying to do: figure out where he came from, who he is now in the context of hiphop, and how that's steadily changing. Hopefully, he realizes that his contribution is priceless.