Los Angeles-based rapper BusDriver offers up a minor hit and major miss with his latest releaseBeaus$Eros. A veteran of the long-running open mic venue Project Blowed, Busdriver honed his skills in the early nineteen-nineties during the height of the Los Angeles indie-rap scene. His animated delivery and penchant for experimentation briefly captured mainstream audiences in 2003, when his single “Imaginary Places” was featured in the video game Tony Hawk’s Underground.
While a chaotic sonic jumble of blurred genres and rapidly-delivered rhymes have become recognizable elements of his signature style, Beaus$Eros seems to re-hash the sonic aesthetic of Busdriver’s earlier releases, but this time with less impressive beats, weak vocals, and little to no live instrumentation. On the track “Picking Band Names”, Busdriver is heard crooning in a poorly-controlled falsetto over a boring and layer-less broken-beat. The saving graces of this album are the tracks “Kiss Me Back To Life”–an electro-inspired uptempo jam where Busdriver is heard belting in the style of Phil Collins, and “Swan Dive Into a Drinking Glass”–a heavy-hitting boom-bap and dubstep inspired piece.
Stand-out tracks include “Utilitarian Uses of Love”– the album-opening lover’s rock-inspired joint with traceable elements of glitch, and the housy uptempo tune “Bon Bon Fire” which features an un-named female vocalist. Other noteworthy tracks include the NY lounge styled “You Aint OG”, and “NoBlacksNoJewsNoAsians”– a garage-styled cut, replete with ponderings on everything from the prison industrial complex to on-tour groupie thirst.
While Beaus$Eros showcases Busdriver as a multi-faceted human being and fearless sonic alchemist, the stylistic choices he doned for this particular release may fail to strike a chord, even among some of his most ardent supporters.