featured REVIEW


Envelope Shark Bolt! Weightless • 2008

May we suggest to you an album that will probably not make anyone’s top-5’s easily at the end of the year but still deserves a spot in it? Columbus, Ohio’s sweetest rap sensation Envelope got prolific producer Blueprint behind him on his latest labour 'Shark Bolt!', the follow-up to his debut 'Insignificant Anthems'. Firstly, the title don’t mean anything; he ain’t rapping about Jaws nor does he tell how struck by lightening turned him into the Henry Chinaski of rap. Secondly, don’t let the camp cover scare you away, because this ain’t no acid rock punk album, it’s hip-hop, not your average, but it’s hip-hop.

If there’s a constant for this album, than it’s the nihilistic but at the same time funny (some call it ironic, others may call it sarcastic) approach of writing lyrics. Raps that make you go 'ooh, I wouldn’t wanna be in his place' and 'haah, I’d like to make fun of the negative like he does'. With no pretension at all, Envelope raps about (bad) relationships with women ('you gonna feel it tonight when we fuck...up'), beer, his hometown (on the excellent 'Straight Up'), everyday habits and the fact that he actually ain’t a good rapper (in the chorus of 'I Got My Motivations' he denotes those motivations as 'a six pack and a sofa waiting'). But paradoxically, this makes him a good rapper: he knows his weakness (technically he may not have a great flow, soundin like a drunk) but at the same time this makes him a very good lyricist, who is just saying what’s on his mind in a way that makes him come across very realistically to the listener (or as he puts it 'Day Dream Nation'; 'I'm just an Ohio boy, even admit that I'm annoyed when I hear too much of my voice, can't shut the fuck up, I have no choice'). Another excellent example is 'Oh My My My', where he stumbles over the beat with poignant one-liners ('cool’s not defined by blog updates') as we can follow his thinking patterns clearly.

Although a master in irony and poetically skilled, Envelope is no Slug or Sage Francis, therefore his discography and lyrical experience has to thicken, however along with excellent production by Blueprint, who goes from bluesy, up-tempo old-schoolish ('Teeth Sucker') to a murderous, dark Giorgio Moroder-like break on 'Day Dream Nation', he might have accomplished to profile himself as one of the underground’s breakthrough artists of this year.

POSTED ON 09|17|2008 by cpf

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