2012 has, at best, been a mediocre year for hip-hop. There have only been a couple of albums and mixtapes this year that have actually impressed me (those being Brother Ali’s newest album and that Heems’ mixtape he dropped earlier this year), and the rest has kind of been tossed to the wayside. Even that G.O.O.D. Music compilation was just okay. That’s why I’m excited for Autumn, however, as the biggest hip-hop albums are slated to come out, and why not start with Minnesota’s P.O.S’s newest outing, ‘We Don’t Even Live Here.‘
This album finds P.O.S at a rather interesting crossroad, sitting on the corner’s of being completely accessible by modest hip-hop fans, and being solely a fan pleasing artist. Luckily for this album, it can jump back and fourth seamlessly without tripping itself up in the process. The opener, “Bumper” is a loud and glitchy introductory for new fans, filled with a dirty flow and one out there hook. “Lock-picks, Knives, Bricks and Bats” puts the production on the sideline to showcase P.O.S’ lyrics, which climaxes in the best way with only 50 seconds left. “All Of It” is a punked out rap that puts major threats to ones character, with a beat that just cannot back down.
And then there are the more commercial songs, which really adds a whole other layer to this album. The first single “Fuck Your Stuff” is the rebel anthem of 2012, which sounds best with the volume turned up.”Get Down” is an incredibly synthesized dance track track that outlines a lot of problems in the world, only to throw them away for a second and have fun. Even the Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) assist on the chorus of “Where We Land” makes it a downtempo jam that you can just vibe to all day long – even if Vernon’s auto-tune at the end was a little off-putting.
The best thing about this album is the rapper himself. Stefon Alexander’s flow, lyrics, and tone makes for one of the most unique rap listenings of this year. Older fans can agree, he has gone harder on some of his older material, and some lyrics are just a bit too off (“Flipping out with the breeze, I’m a ceiling fan”). However, the overall package makes everything work. The lyric I mentioned would’ve sounded like garbage coming out of someone elses mouth, but it being mixed with some stellar production and interesting features completes the picture that Alexander wants to paint.
We Don’t Even Live Here isn’t perfect, but this is seriously up there when it comes to good hip-hop this year. The album itself governs multiple listenings, as you will find new things to like with each time through. New and old fans rejoice; hip-hop that breaks the mold and distorts it into something that much more impressive
Final Grade: A-
Go Download: “Fuck Your Stuff,” “Lock-Picks, Knives, Bricks and Bats”
Side Note: P.O.S has recently postponed his tour to support this album because he is in need of a new kidney. My thoughts are out to Stef, hope everything works out and hopefully will see you on the road soon. Can’t wait to hear this material live, and I’ll gladly wait until everything is all right in the P.O.S world. You can personally donate to his PayPal here to help his process out.