review: giovanni marks – ‘c.o.a.t.’

June 6, 2014

Raise your hand if you also have your moments where you imagine how things, such as music will be in the future? I know I am not the only one. Thankfully, the future has brought us some truly interesting things in music, and all it took was pissing off purist people. Hell, without that, we wouldn’t have pioneers such as crevlord Giovanni Marks FKA Subtitle. With C.O.A.T., Giovanni Marks explores avant rap with a much more synthetic approach. Think hip-hop from the point of view of someone who equally listens to something like Kool Keith and Suicide and spends way too much time living in his own head.

By Lightning Pill, AFROPUNK Contributor

ia twitter, I asked Marks if he can explain “crev” to me. His answer was that “crev” means crevice, and the rest is for us to decide. After listening to both Giovanni Marks and two of Spoek Mathambo’s mixtapes, both of which carried the name CREVWAVE in their genre names, I came to a very logical conclusion: crevwave is the name of music that is recorded with mostly lo-fi equipment, and to spite that, the music sounds like musical artifacts from tomorrow. Crevwave is like a broadcast of music from a time that we never lived or from a planet we have yet to discover. Or if you want to be less imaginative about it, Crevwave is hip-hop’s answer to new wave/no-wave genre that was born in the mid-70s. Perhaps, not as angular, but contains just as nervous an energy in his beats and the beats of others.
The album is said to be the third of the four chapters in his “crev wave saga”, which was said to end with the long-announced “My So-Crev Life”. Dirty, cloudy synths syrup the album’s multiple tones from the sci-fi “daily” to the honry and slightly paranoia-inducing “want 2 Reflip” to even the weed-smoke-clouded Madonna cover “Physical Attraction”. How I think this fits the new wave aesthetic is that some bands of that genre make music that sounds like racing through the mind of your average nerd. Even when you think “Physical Attraction” may be too muddy for its own good, its a great track once you imagine a scenario like a clouded night with a mistress from Giovanni’s POV.

“DIED.”, the first “single” off the album gets straight to the nitty gritty when it comes to the subject of finding love and dealing with heartbreak. Basically, Marks is not too strange to stunt or to know how to live without love. “If I can’t find a perfect love to prevail/then that’s okay with me, I won’t fail/I keep it crev, that’s my technique,” says Marks, after spelling out to a future lover his complex persona.

By now, you would have gotten that my favorite kind of hip-hop is the type that bends and breaks the rules of what hip-hop is supposed to be, and Giovanni Marks seems to be all about bringing hip-hop to the future with his mad scientist/punk-hop persona. Here’s to hoping that after his artistic quadrilogy, crevwave will spell another side of hip-hop future.