Signor Benedick the Moor, the project of Los Angeles' rapper and producer
incorporated wildly different genres, from industrial music to punk-rock, on his
hip-hop opera El Negro (2013).
The set of 17 songs runs the gamut from
The Tragic tale of Bisen Fransisco, that sounds like a deranged Danny Brown rapping on industrial music,
to the orchestral grandeur of All Revere (the album's standout),
neoclassical Stravinsky-ian instrumental interlude Aristotelian Reptilian Pavilion
to the breathless rap over heavy-metal guitar riffs of
Existential Humanitarianism as a Fashion Choice,
macabre monastery atmosphere of Mouth of the Beast, pierced by a lacerating guitar line,
to the melancholy and sinister collage of found voices A Life in the Zoo of Christian Andrew.
Songs change while in transit, like in the
multiple split personalities of Belladonna, a song that morphs from oppressing brass and violin drones to Caribbean dance.
The six-minute Call of the Wild begins rather innocently as a laid-back shuffle but continues to pile up instruments (piano, horns) while the rapping gets more visceral, and the second half is another instrumental delight, a duet between a distorted heavy-metal guitar and a booming syncopated drum-machine.
Bisen Fransisco In - The Iconic Chronic Colonic is an eight-minute hip-hop opera inside the hip-hop opera, somewhere between Frank Zappa and a musichall skit.
The rapping, far from being a mere decoration for the instrumentals, often steals the show, especially in the tragic theater of Whomp A Tale by Charlse Dodgson and Audio Manslaughter, and the album ends with a dramatic crescendo of screaming in .//End.
And there's even top-quality singing, like in the melodic rock song Poeticism as an Extrinsic Finality with a languid fatalistic chorus that could be from languid David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust.
One of the great hip-hop albums of all times.
Garage Raps Vol.1 (2015), recorded in his parents' garage,
collects some finished songs in a variety of genres
(the savage garage-rock of Garage, the
power-pop ditty Have u Seen the Man of Light and the
nocturnal jazz shuffle Turnips) and unfinished experiments.
The eleven-minute piece of the EP Maiden Voyage (2016) is another
experiment to bridge different genres in one song (pop melodies, orchestral soundtracks, rap and rock).
After the eight-song mini-album Toybox (2017), that ranges from the poppy
Pillows to the punkish Home @ Nite,
and the brief nine-song mixtape CYBR.pnk (2017), on which he experimented
a variety of singing and rapping styles,
the album MNFST.dstnii (2017) introduced a different artist,
a creative digital singer-songwriter, capable of the
melodramatic neosoul autotuned ballad I Think, of the
horror punk-industrial atmosphere of $lipknot$,
and of the visceral emo-punk dirge In the .//End, three powerful songs.
But most of the album feels unfinished.
Spirit Realm.Final (2019) abandons the most glaring
industrial and metal contaminations for a more thoughtful expansion of the
Far from returning to the standard format of hip-hop music,
McLaurin indulges in Dada-psychedelic hip-hop gibberish like Hidden Temple, Ul 2 Spirit Realm, Omg, but without steering too far from the path of hip-hop music.
Even the heavy-metal touches in Pain are marginal.
His melodic skills enable
his ventures into
pop and neosoul (Feelns 4, Elephant)
and into indie-folk (Feels Right :O, Goddamn i Love you Honey).
Highlights come from
surrealistic instrumental interludes like Through the Portal
and from the
fantastic cross-ethnic oxymoron of Lilith Moon.
The seven-song EP Aries Venus (2020) contains mostly humble indie-pop songs, notably the elegiac Venus in Spurs over hip-hop beats, and the swampy
glitch-pop of 1ft Mem'ry.
McLaurin also contributed to Ruby Yacht's debut album 37 Gems (2019),
Ruby Yacht being a collective formed by rapper and producer R.A.P. (Rory Allen Philip) Ferreira (aka Milo).
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