Photo courtesy of Lewis Recordings
Don’t be so smug, Mr.Mathers. Twenty million other white rappers have emerged and they’re gunning for your job. The creamiest of the crop is Boston’s Edan (pronounced Edon) and he’s doing his bit for the cause by delivering some of the most clearly focused and unique hip hop we’ve heard in ages. His new album, Beauty and the Beat is a wonderland of childlike hip hop symphonies that occupy the same drug addled mind-space as ‘Smile’ era Brian Wilson and Roky Erickson. It mixes psychedelic soundscapes and kaleidescopic visions with distorted feedback blow-outs, reversed drum loops, bubbling Moogs and echoplexed vocals. It’s kind of like an all-star acid casualty jam with Syd Barrett on guitar, Mama Cass on back-ups and Sly Stone beatboxing up a storm. Edan has managed to infuse his past love of high school psyche rock with future hip hop and a twisted use of samples not heard since the Avalanches turned the MPC on its head.
VICE: “I See Colors” is a bit of an LSD tune isn’t it?
I didn’t take drugs to make this shit. I wanted the record to be the drug. It’s about discovering the beauty around you. If you pay attention to the complexities and the physics around you then you find there’s definitely a beautiful tapestry at work. The world is a potentially beautiful place but we’ve even squandered that yo. It still blows my mind.
Are you the hip hop Syd Barrett?
I guess I have the childlike perspective that he had. It’s all related. Same with the Brian Wilson stuff, know what I’m sayin’? It’s indirect but I guess that listening to some of the Smile bootlegs a couple of years back blew my fuckin’ mind. I guess my song ‘Smile’ is a tribute of sorts though I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time. Whatever man, it’s all good.
What’s the deal with the Sgt. Peppers worship sleeve?
Some of those people on the cover are just there because they was facing the right direction and I could cut their shit out and fit em under the fuckin’ hair. Not all of them cats were there because I set out to put them in there but if I found someone I wanted to pay respects to, I did it there.
Beauty and the Beat is out now through Earshot/Inertia.