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On a first listen, the new album from Atlanta-bred emcee The Darkmonk didn’t really make sense. The work in question, True Underlord, features production from Jake One, Wesu, Herbaliser and CX Kindtronik–just to name a few–and follows a more ‘lo-fi beat’s type of production.  The album also features a clumsy, if entertaining, rap style, predicated on the need to keep rhymes going–as on tracks like “Real Terror” where the words bologna, homie, phony, noisy, cozy, smoky and little croddies were all placed together within a few bars.

However, digging a little deeper into The Darkmonk and the album, listeners will realize The Darkmonk is an MF Doom protégé–a key fact which makes the whole project and especially songs like “Sinista,” and “Hyena” (produced by Doom himself) more understandable.  The music on the album is more on the abstract and obscure side.  The rhymes are engaging because of the delivery as well as the fact that they are more than a little random.  The random factor is best seen on tracks like “Can’t See ‘Em,” where he says things like, “Recognize why you’re beefing, might not need to get stuck / shot, robbed or cut / ran over by your truck,” or with, “Like a truckload of donkeys I’m hauling ass / ya’ll are just some excited babies, crawling fast.”

The production on True Underlord mostly overshadows the rhymes.  However, if you’re a fan of MF Doom, endearingly clumsy raps and lo-fi beats–this is the perfect album for you!

-Erin Duncan

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