Friday, October 25, 2013

Celebrity Internment Camp - Why Not?

Hi, guys. Today is a new day, right? It's a big, colorful world out there full of new experiences and stuff to try, or so I hear. So let's get outside ourselves. Let's listen to some hip-hop we'd never ordinarily check out, something totally off our radars. Here, I've been sent just the thing: Celebrity Internment Camp. It'll be just like taking one of those year-long train rides through all of Europe searching for the little places the tourists don't know about except you don't have to go outdoors.

So Celebrity Internment Camp is the name of both the album and the group. The group is actually a collective consisting of Urban Sasquatch, Red Carpet Hobo and Hindsight Genius. Never heard of any of those guys either? Embrace it! That's the spirit. Maybe they're individual up and coming beat makers, maybe they're groups, or maybe they're silly pseudonyms for other beat makers and groups we've never heard of.

Here's what I do know. This is an instrumental hip-hop CD put out by a traditionally punk rock label in Long Island called 86'd Records. It includes a big, fold-out comic book poster about... yaknow, celebrities being sent off to internment camps. Not bad for $5. I've been hearing for years that punk labels have better value just in terms of prices for their physical releases (looking at their site, the same label sells their 12"s with pic covers for $8), so I guess I know what they're talking about now.

This isn't punk, though; this is a strictly hip-hop album. And it's pretty good. I mean, I'm not feeling the drums here. I guess they're not meant to be rapped over, but just taken as backdrop for the rest of the instrumentation, which is pretty engaging. So it doesn't have the compelling head nodder swing of a classic rap jam; but instead feels sort of like a soundtrack for a movie that doesn't exist. Except it's a little too busy to be score; but you want that in an instrumental album. Otherwise it's boring. And like very few instrumental hip-hop albums, this album manages to avoid being that - an accomplishment in itself. The samples are many and varied, spread out over a lot of very short tracks. Honestly, this is probably the most absorbing hip-hop instrumental album I've heard in a long time that doesn't have any scratching, beat juggling or other forms of turntablism to keep it moving.

It's also surprisingly peppy for an album supposedly about internment camps.

Look, I'm a guy who only buys 45 King beat albums to skip to the songs with Apache and Lord Alibaski. But If instrumental hip-hop is your thing, especially something a little non-traditional, I recommend checking this one out. It's a healthy kind of different. And next month we'll all get the new Kool G Rap album.