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For over a decade, Brooklyn’s Beans has made a name for himself contorting elastic flows over abstract beats as a member of the envelope pushing Anti-Pop Consortium, and as the sole architect of three solo projects. On his latest, Beans hands the production reigns over to a motley crew of daring outsiders and renews his focus on the art of MCing. The end result is a singular and challenging, if uneven and occasionally self conscious collection that will more than tide die-hards over until the next Anti-Pop release.As an artist, Beans combines a throwback tongue with a futuristic ear for beats. The tone is set right away with “Superstar Destroyer,” with Beans spraying rapid fire couplets of 1989 style braggadocio over swirling new age synths and a stuttering digital beat from Ade Firth. Interopl’s Sam Fog lays down an apocalyptic backdrop of menacing strings and double time marching drums on “Electric Bitch,” and Beans’ flow, all bubbling aggression and unresolved tension makes it easy to overlook the fact that the lyrics never quite match the intensity of the beat. The album’s centerpiece, “Blue Movie,” showcases the dexterity of Bean’s flow over a shape shifting cacophony from Son Lux.

Despite some epic moments, End It All ultimately feels a bit small, or at least incomplete, especially towards the end. “Electric Eliminator” and “Forever Living Fresh” both end abruptly less than two minutes in, just as the off kilter sonics are starting to settle in. The same penchant for rapid fire rhymes that powers the album’s highlights undermines “Hardliner,” where the flow outpaces Fred Bigot’s digital slog of a track.

While casual listeners may be left scratching their heads a time too often for their liking, connoisseurs of pure MCing will find plenty to admire in Beans’ craftsmanship, and long time fans of the Consortium will likely add this project to their collections with no regrets.

-Jeff Harvey

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