Sene is a bit of anomaly amongst the younger generation of rappers. He is not the most dexterous MC nor is he swag-oriented like say his NYC counterpart, A$AP Rocky. His elocution is more subtle, with lines that speak to an articulate grasp of today’s universal frustrations.
His new project Brooklyknight showcases Sene as a hybrid of Digable Planets, Justin Warfield and pre-Yasiin Bey. The type of left-leaning album you wish you could dig on more in an era of conformity. The mercurial production flickers between the straight-ahead (“Backboards,” featuring regular collaborator Blu) to the experimental (the mind-melting “The Feel Real”). Many of the sung hooks are distracting, but there is something in the dissonance that supports the overall tone and push of the set.
This listener strongly favors the Dilla-inflected “Footprints” co-produced by Nogames. On the album’s swan song (“Music Man”), Sene says out loud what many of us privately think about these days of isolation; even the music that once got us through our daily panics isn’t quite as healing as it was. Sene may not be for everybody but Brooklyknight is, at the very least, a challenging listen that is certainly worth a test-drive.
- M.F. DiBella