Gods Wisdom & DJ Lucas Gods Lucas

[Thunderzone; 2015]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: Western Mass, rap, next level, dark world
Others: Juiceboxxx, Schwarz

Until the appearance of Gods Lucas, the strangest musical releases on Juiceboxxx’s Thunderzone label were Baltimore producer Schwarz’s trilogy of “U R Beautiful,” “Tonight’s the Night,” and “Open Up Yr Mind.” These three tracks were so out there because they were positive club anthems coming from a guy screaming himself hoarse, who looked like he might be patient zero for an unknown disease. Now that Gods Wisdom and DJ Lucas have tapped Thunderzone for the Gods Lucas cassette, they make Schwarz’s output look like Top 40 hits blasting at a homecoming dance. Even as we live in an era where strange is the new normal, these Western Mass dudes stand out as true oddballs. And how could you not listen to an album where someone who raps about barnyard parties and baby seals partners with a guy who raps like Tom Waits on a diet of Mountain Dew, Doritos, and weed?

If Gods Lucas was merely a tossed-off product by a couple of weirdos, we could throw this in the Chocolate Grinder, marvel at its curiosity, and move on; thing is, Gods Lucas is funny, catchy, and stands up to repeat listens. The initial goofiness of songs like “Unprepared,” “Barnyard Party,” and “Baby Seals” morphs into an adventurous set of beats and rhymes that connect the dots between hip-hop, electro, and general outsider artists like Daniel Johnston and Willis Earl Beal. Take “Barnyard Party,” for example: the vocodered DJ Lucas on the hook (“When I say that it’s a barnyard party for sure, I mean that it’s a barnyard party for certain”) paired with Gods Wisdom’s barely-intelligible raps about actual activities for the corral can be read a mission statement, not just about their musical style, but also about their way of life. You can picture the pair driving along an empty highway, late at night on a Friday, wondering what they’re doing with their lives, when suddenly everything seems clear when they pull up to the BYP. Elsewhere, when Lucas raps, “I’m convinced there’s something wrong with me” (“Let it Go”), it’s followed by a lengthy coda of gibberish that makes you think he’s not kidding.

As with all worthwhile rap records, and especially those with a lot of tracks, there’s ample space for the duo to sprawl out and get weird. The bizarre yet effective IDM-workout “U.F.O.” gives way to the twisted drum & bass of “Empty Church,” the latter of which features vocals focusing on the titular house of worship, melancholy keys, and a compressed and dirty spin on the classic “dnb” sound. I could see this one being a classic “floor clearer” at a typical college party, but in a perfect world, the faded crowd would keep dancing and shout for more when it ends. The appeal of Gods Lucas lies in both the general curiosity of checking out new, freaky permutations of rap and being part of a chapter in the ongoing story of a couple of spazzed-out kids doing things their way, and mostly succeeding.

Gods Lucas has a perfect home in Thunderzone, a label ambitious and confident enough to add a screenplay to their catalog, but savvy enough to know a good thing brewing out of Western Mass when they hear it. It’s next-level rap, and while it may not corner the weirdo rap market like Lil B or Riff Raff, their sound and attitude is wholly original. Whether at a basement show where absolutely no one shows up or at a club date with hundreds of screaming fans, I’m betting Gods Wisdom and DJ Lucas would sound just as energetic and insane in either.

Links: Thunderzone

Most Read