Why? Oaklandazulasylum

[Anticon; 2003]

Rating: 4.5/5

Styles: lo-fi post rap-turned-lo-fi indie pop rock
Others: Reaching Quiet, Pavement, cLOUDDEAD, Hymie’s Basement

It’s hard not to summon up the ever-popular and classic cLOUDDEAD when we mention the name Why? from Anticon. His collaboration with Doseone and Odd Nosdam was certainly one of hip-hop’s definitive crossover moments. It was the epitome of indie credibility, appealing to every category of indie style in music. But for Why?, cLOUDDEAD seemed to be a stepping-stone to the genuine direction that his musical career had been taking him. Two long years after cLOUDDEAD’s masterpiece graced our listening ear, Why? returns with an eclectic, inventive, and stylistic record with his debut full-length Oaklandazulasylum.

Why? attracts his audience with simplistic musical derivatives. But what makes this album truly organic is the unlimited mixture of musical textures laid on every track of the album. Though Oaklandazulasylum is composed with generic drum machine, acoustic guitar and a plethora of samples and electronics, the album is extremely unpredictable and astonishingly distinctive. Why? adds his vocals that are ordinary at best but shine through with his blemished/unblemished delivery style, exposing a fearless performance of hip-hop cadence to genuine and soulful abstract singing. With production from Jel and Odd Nosdam, the Anticon ambiance is truly felt, but Why? permeates an authentic aura about his musical approach that exposes him as a true leader of the congregation. 

Oaklandazulasylum stretches the boundaries of hip-hop even further with its overabundant stylistic concoctions, creating a blended musical masterpiece.  Furthermore, Why? exemplifies why Anticon has become a vessel of indie hip-hop credibility.  Adding to the collective effort of the group, Why? has destroyed the demons of  the one-hit-wonder cLOUDDEAD with an emotional, gripping and extremely captivating album. Oaklandazulasylum may be the best album to come out of the entire Anticon collective due to its outbursts of clever hip-hop and witty diversity. 

1. Ferriswheel
2. Cold Lunch
3. Afterschool America
4. Our Neighbor's Daughter
5. A Little Titanic
6. Weak moon
7. Early whitney
8. Dream on Cortelyou
9. Women eye, `No'
10. Dirty Glass
11. Shirtless, Sheetless and
12. Bad entropy
13. Seventeen
14. Ape in a cage with wire cutters

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