feature: busdriver’s latest ‘perfect hair’ is the soundtrack to fall ’14. featuring danny brown, aesop rock, open mike eagle, and pegasus warning #soundcheck

September 8, 2014

From the first track on Busdriver’s latest, Perfect Hair, the dude’s rhymes are on point. “My clothes are dirty / And I’m over thirty / But you can’t quit me cold turkey,” he raps on “Retirement Ode.” As an over-thirty musician currently on tour, I don’t know that anyone could put it better. Perfect Hair is a celebration of perseverance, and a self-deprecating critique of hip-hop and coolness in general. I’m calling it now. This is the soundtrack to Fall ’14.

Words by Nathan Leigh, AFROPUNK Contributor

Busdriver assembles a dream team of collaborators for Perfect Hair, from Danny Brown and Aesop Rock on the dope lead single “Ego Death” to Open Mike Eagle on “When the Tooth-lined Horizon Blinks” and Pegasus Warning on “Colonize the Moon.” (What, no Kool AD or LE1F? Whatever, man. You’re like 3 collaborators away from my perfect supergroup…) As is to be expected, Danny Brown is on fire, introducing himself as the “rap Marilyn Manson.” Yeah, probably. But just because he’s assembled a who’s-who of underground hip-hop, Busdriver is still the king of the mic here. On “Upsweep” his rapid-fire rhymes deconstruct the economics of being a professional musician in 2014 over a psychedelic beat.

On “When the Tooth-lined Horizon Blinks,” Open Mike Eagle reminds us why he’s hip-hops most tragically under-celebrated MVP with the line “so cool when I swim the manatees die.” Brilliant lines abound on “Eat Rich,” starting from “I’m so hungry man / I could eat the rich.” If you have a predilection for glitchy beats, Kenny Segal’s production on “Eat Rich” is about as hot as they come. If you don’t, well, why are you listening to Busdriver? The record closes with the Pegasus Warning collaboration “Colonize the Moon,” which is probably the best distillation of Busdriver’s future-rap on the record. “If you were here for the last song about world leaders and street fashion / We bent the truth quite a bit and we’d like to announce the following redactions…” before Busdriver and Pegasus Warning embark on a quest of deconstructing any claims of coolness. “This money ain’t meant for saving children / It’s to help me colonize the moon.” Perfect.

Perfect Hair is out September 9th. Pre-order it here.