Hip Hop’s Poets
You want to resurrect hip hop / how can you save what isn’t dead? So implores Coaxial front man Beegs Alchemy on “Galatic Tusnami” in response to the music elitists, tastemakers, and record reviewers who claim that hip hop is moribund. It’s an interesting observation from one not within the halls of rap music’s “successes” and far from its accompanying prizes âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ãº monetary and otherwise. But perhaps Beegs is right in his assessment of the state of rap music. While other artists, in their quest for genuine hip hop legitimacy, are sounding off about the genre’s bling-bling aesthetic, the pair behind the Long Beach indie hip hop team see the game as evolving rather than withering away.Coaxial’s self-titled new album is a 13-track onslaught of jarring instrumentation and pulsating beats over a melancholically sinister ambiance (care of Coaxial’s other half, David K.). Armed with a loose and languid tongue âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ãº not to mention the lexicon of a college professor âˆšÂ¢â€šÃ‡Â¨â€šÃ„Ãº Beegs raps with intelligent prose, painting frightening landscapes of post-apocalyptic dystopia and personal, neurotic reflection. Coaxial recalls the works of contemporaries such as Aesop Rock, El-P, and Saul Williams in both style and delivery. Smart and skittish, Coaxial is the hip hop record for the leftist, bourgeoisie intellectual.
However, as is the case with most spoken word albums, Coaxial lacks ‘listenability.’ Caught between programmed psychedelia and slam poetry, the album proves challenging to listeners with an affinity for melody. Coaxial may be as socially aware as Dead Prez or Public Enemy but they are less stereotypically hip hop in sound. Coaxial is not a record for those in search of hip hop revivalism because the band isn’t looking to revive the genre; they’ve set out to transform it.