Album Review #2: Insomniac Funk

The next artist that took up my hella sweet offer to get shit-talked is Insomniac Funk, a backpacker group out of Vancouver consisting of two guys that rappity rap.  My notes from the songs Peace Is, AnyMic and  Can’t Escape This:

  • These guys are way, way into backpacker high-syllable per word range with an average of ~1.63.  That would be higher than Aesop Rock, Immortal Technique and almost any high-syllable per word rapper.  The idea with this kind of writing is to never address any idea or concept directly but to tap dance around it with awkward metaphors and synonymous words.  Lines like ‘i lost my sanity without societies sanitation‘ don’t really mean anything.  The consonance is sweet but ‘going crazy’ to a ‘shitty world’ isn’t that impressive of an idea that it needs those kinds of words.  I’m guessing these dudes really do try hard to write and rhyme well (Rhyme Density of 0.38 which is very good), but are sacrificing clear, concise ideas to drop ‘dope rhymes’.
  • In the track Peace Is there’s a running theme that the rapper is ‘going Cray’.  He explains that he gets high and chills out (‘no question i release some tension peace speaking/reach the dimensions and demons get sentenced‘) but it’s complicated to the point that any serious catharsis is lost and no listener will actually feel/understand the emotion behind what he wants to do.  Also, that song is way closer to Eminem Infinite than Eminem circa Marshall Mathers in terms of his Horrorscore.  Just like Eminem needed to lower his syllable per word average and get ‘darker’ to actually appeal/connect with anyone and make them give a shit, this dude probably needs a similar makeover.
  • This guy raps HELLA WHITE.  Using the race classification tool, he scored about as high as possible on the ‘white’ side as possible (14.49 White to 1.07 Black).  This would be okay if he didn’t have lines like ‘born a torn hustler…souls locked in crypts and prisons’.  Pronouncing the hard -ER suffix on ‘hustler’ and talking about prison only in terms of mystic ideas like a ‘soul’ is a dead giveaway that it’s something this guy is talking about only hypothetically and without authority.

A fun review and a cool bunch of tracks.

If you want me to shit-talk your album, please email me liban.aliyusuf [at] gmail.com  Follow me at Twitter.com/LibanAli

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One thought on “Album Review #2: Insomniac Funk

  1. This is cool to see, I suspected some of the things you pointed out metrics wise but never would have thought the syllable per word count would be that high well at the same time keeping a rhyme density of 0.38.

    I enjoy listening to high syllable high rhyme dense artists like Aesop, Ghostface, AZ, Canibus and deciphering rhymes like ‘i lost my sanity without societies sanitation‘ over 50 cent spitting “We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday” so a lot of what you said is complementary to good hip hop = unsuccessful to the mainstream. I see where you’re coming from though, in terms of hip hop for mainstream success.

    Not much comment about the Race classification tool besides it probably needs the most work; need to take account for culture, country, other races etc.

    Thanks for taking the time to do this and I really enjoy reading your blog!

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