Anti-Pop Consortium Fluorescent Black

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Styles: technicolor hip-hop with professor’s glasses and a twirly mustache
Others: Passage, Doom, Prefuse 73, Dizzy Rascal, Nobody

Anti-Pop Consortium never managed to make a definitive statement, and they still haven't. Fluorescent Black, for all its grandeur and fresh, new-reunion smell, isn't the revolutionary record I believe the "other" AC will eventually make. It is, however, their best album yet, an encouraging portent of blings to come. Just be wary of the occasional boner; Anti-Pop toss them in just to see if you're paying attention, and though they occur less than ever on FB, their continued existence is holding the tongue-twisting trio back a bit.

One thing hasn't changed: Anti-Pop Consortium, more than any other hip-hop outfit, can outright scare you with their heady combination of production prowess -- courtesy of one E. Blaize -- and lyrical elasticity. "Mega" and "Bubbles" are past examples of this taste explosion; "Timpani," "Superunfrontable," and the title track all carry the scorching Anti-Pop torch into the future with seismic, scatterbrained beats and layers, as usual more than a little bit IDM-ish, coupled with those rhymes we've all come to expect from Priest, Beans, and M. Sayyid.

With so much talent at their disposal, it's a goddamn shame to hear the filler (perhaps the 17-track running time, with no skits, was a bit much?). "Born Electric" is a tone-deaf half-rap, half-soul jaunt with all the charm of a front yard pock-marked by F-150 tire tracks. "Volcano" isn't as horrible, but it never distinguishes itself and totes a terrible chorus along with it. "Apparently" is another half-stepper with little to show for its litany of lyrical trix, and "End Game" commits the ultimate crime, failing to fully match its beat with its raps, coming off stilted like a knobby-kneed pre-teen.

If you subtract these four lightweights, Fluorescent Black is as hard-punching and beefy as longtime fans could have ever hoped for, packing enough bounce to easily elevate above the legions of rappers who just don't work as hard as Anti-Pop Consortium. As fun as it was to watch Beans try to dance by himself onstage after the AC break-up, lookin' all lonely an' shit (yeesh), it's thrilling to hear Anti-Pop back in the saddle with so few sores. Unlike, say, Public Enemy (whom AC opened for recently), Anti-Pop Consortium are still vital enough to keep the momentum they lost, in dreadfully untimely fashion, when they inexplicably broke up in 02. To turn a common AC phrase, Flourescent Black is fuckin' bananas. Don't be the last monkey to the tree.

1. Lay Me Down
2. New Jack Exterminator
3. Reflections
4. Shine
5. C Thru U
6. Volcano
7. Timpani
8. Solution
9. Get Lite
10. NY to Tokyo
11. SuperUnfrontable
12. Born Electric
13. Apparently
14. End Game
15. Capricorn One
16. Dragonov
17. Fluorescent Black

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