Review Summary: Get up, get out, get up, and get something done!
“I’m not like every other mother fuck with a mic, I’m on my own
Stefon Alexander has something to say. His involvement in punk rock bands and perpetual animosity towards hip-hop --more specifically the mainstream spectrum of hip-hop -- has, somewhat ironically, spurred on one of the most brilliant and entertaining hip-hop records of all time with a message: we need change. Half hoping to invoke change and get people to listen while at the same time containing a palpable sense of hopelessness and cynicism, his persona is something entirely fresh and invigorating, thrust forward by his unique and oft aggressive vocalization and scathing jabs at popular culture, politics and more.
kicks off strongly with “Half-Cocked Concepts,” an unrelenting criticism about the youth of today that fixates on the general lack of attentiveness: “It’s something so ridiculous, funny, so fuck
ing sick of this consistent lack of vision from children claiming they’re listening” and calling out generic mainstream hip-hop artists for their ignorance and formulaic nature: “There’s still songs about bitches from 9/11 witnesses (ha ha)”, quickly dismissing them with an indifferent chuckle. Stefon is very much in the forefront of the song, fluidly leaping from verse to verse at a fast pace with one hell of an infectious bass-guitar lead while he aggressively shouts criticisms and references Pulp Fiction, Michael Jackson, Tony Rocky Horror, and more. It’s a mammoth track that serves as an excellent representation of what P.O.S. is all about
: being poised and unfiltered without compromising accessibility or ever feeling too intrusive or indulgent. It also overtly showcases his punk leanings with occasional shouts of: “Get up, get out, get up, and get something done!” and prominent bass.
...And that’s just the first song.
The remaining 12 songs (barring the obvious short tracks) are all just as engaging and unconventional in style. Some of them can’t help but be columned next artists like Eminem, especially in songs like “Paul Kersey to Jack Kimball” where Stefon emulates Marshall’s boorish snarl as he crudely exclaims: “You’re a killer! And I don't mean it like you mean it, you piece of rat shit
, I hope you burn for this! And I ain't talkin’ about fire and brimstone, hope your murder weapon crashes into a closed Amoco... So it's you all alone as you go, and it's real when you peel your fuck
in’ face off the wheel”. Stefon clearly draws from many influences to help yield a new aesthetic meaning and he succeeds far more than he falters. Some songs borrow heavy guitar riffs, others range from gentle atmospheres like the smooth sounding melody enveloping “Bleeding Hearts Club” to moments that frolic boisterously like the inexpressibly catchy, and somewhat optimistic chant in “Stand Up” that goes:
“Hands up if you're broken but find a way to stand up;
Give it up if you're hopin’ and never givin’ up.
Stand up so we know who’s here,
Who wanna open the machine and rage against the gears?
Stefon’s words are poignant, his music a stylistic mingling of the fiery aggression and calamity in punk that he blends with the sounds of hip-hop progenitors Marshall Mathers and Tupac Shakur. His posturing and focus on controversial topics and pop-culture references help make him stand out as a lyricist as he deviates from the less conventional subjects, ie: bitches, cash, and self-indulgence. Essentially, Audition
is a musical evolution and expansion of the formula found on his debut record, Ipecac Neat
, manipulated and honed to perfection. The production is rough and gritty around the edges in some of the less-polished sounding romps -- contextualizing that raw feel of punk rock -- and gorgeous and lush on the more laid-back songs led by melody and hooks. It all ties together perfectly and is largely accessible to both lovers and haters of hip-hop, possibly acting as a transitional record for the latter. Audition
is a hip-hop classic not to be missed.