Although just a couple of years ago, some academic critics were bemoaning the death of hip-hop, 2012 was a phenomenal year for the art-form: Kendrick Lamar, Killer Mike, Aesop Rock, Death Grips, El-P, and Nas all blazed in with new classics.
As a label specialising in spoken word and sound art, Blue Tapes' contribution to the culture is to present Anaheim rapper LostPoet stripped of the relentless ear candy that is de rigueur for modern hip-hop - his flow fearless and uncluttered by beats, samples, and sound effects.
These acapellas aren't just stream-of-consciousness mixtape fluff. blue five, or 'Acapellas 4 The Culture', repositions MCing as the Zulu Nation's first pillar of hip-hop. Ripped out of otherwise completed tracks, this vocal study forms part of Blue Tapes' ongoing experiment in honing in on one element of sound, isolating it, and seeing how it survives out of context.*
In this instance, the deep voids of silence that fall in the tape where beats, samples, and FX would normally power the piece add a whole new layer of tension. With no verse/chorus guiderope or other musical pattern suggesting where vocal bars should drop in and out, voices loom unexpectedly out of the darkness. Presenting the vocal without extraneous audio information sharpens the listener's interpretive faculties. The mental images, shapes, and colours we all experience while listening to a piece of music, now swinging entirely on the way a word or line is delivered.
Acapellas 4 The Culture comes packaged in a hardback book, with the tape stashed in a 'secret compartment' gouged into the papery flesh of the tome. The cover to each book has been augmented with a handmade cyanotype print - each completely unique and individual.
Praise for Acapellas 4 The Culture:
"While some critics are bemoaning the death of rap and hip-hop, enigmatic Anaheim rapper-poet LostPoet has chosen to embrace the art form with Acapellas 4 The Culture. Like his previous releases, this one too focuses on the spoken verse and lyricism, now stripped of the relentless ear candy that is de rigueur for hip-hop in recent years, with a flow that seems fearless and uncluttered by beats, samples and sound effects.
"Known for being different and unconventional, LostPoet's latest offering won't be up everyone's street but those who have had enough of the autotune and over-production in today's tunes may find this a breath of fresh air." - Press Association