Album: Flowers For My Father
Record Label: Fake Four Inc.
Seattle MC opens himself up in a bone shattering showcase of beautiful beats, disturbing imagery and personal redemption
There's something in the water in Seattle which seems to grab anyone who has a talent with a pen by the hand and lead them through their own personal odyssey. It's a journey that turned Kurt Cobain into a superstar, and it's a journey that MC Sadistik seems to have been inspired by on his latest project, "Flowers For My Father." Sadistik's lightning paced flow, fascination with the philosophical as well as well as his presumably self- destructive nature are things that were all laid bare on his 2008 LP "The Balancing Act." But there's an upsetting modicum in the mind which predicts that "Flowers For My Father" will be slept on by most of the world, including most Hip Hop fans. And that is it's only pitfall. Otherwise, it's a flawless piece of work.
It's hard to know where to begin, but it's probable that Sadistik's deep- as- hell lyrical matter wouldn't be as prolific if it wasn't given space by the beautifully textured production which every track here entails. On every song the tone is set by a gorgeously reflective and spacious beat, pushing the wordplay to the fore and leaving plenty of space for Sadistik to rap until he feels truly vindicated. It would be a dangerous premise in the hands of a less skilled MC, but it's the words that really matter here nevertheless.
Sadistik's wordplay flurries between metaphysical, disturbing but fundamentally poetic imagery and a dark, self- deprecating honesty. The first prime example of this is on second track "Russian Roulette", as the words "No disrespect but the real love doesn't show until I kiss your neck and my steel tongue cuts your throat" resound around atmosphere drenched synths and lurking, squelchy bass notes. "Yeah I sit beneath a plaster moon, puff puff pass the gloom and watch the ashes bloom" he opens up on "Snow White", a grizzly, heart breaking tale of him leaving a lover due to her insatiable appetite for Cocaine. "You look so comfortable but pretty with your bloody nose, and you're still thinking that nobody knows?".
Best of all is "The Beast." Surrounded by expansive, illustrious and wonderfully compiled orchestration, Sadistik quips lines like the intelligent black humour of "the duckling swan- dived into the barrel of a gun" and "I studied every eye lash on her pretty little face and they looked like Venus Fly Traps."
There's more versatility to be found though. The self destructive trajectory of tracks like the revenge- fueled "Kill The King" sees him asserting "I won't say I'm getting stronger 'cause whatever doesn't kill me only makes me wait a little longer." There's more verbosity to be found on "Song For the End of the World". A melancholy, doom- laden and deep synth creates a marooning atmosphere as Sadistik tells us "I fall asleep to my existential woes and the questions with the answers that'll never get exposed."
And yet, there are some chinks of positivity woven into the proceedings. "Palmreader" supplies us with a beautiful beat and reverb- soaked vocal cut from Child Actor, and lyrically it's strangely romantic. "You've haunted my skin with your ruby red lipstick, aren't you a gem" intones Sadistik, before going on to promise "They say the sky's the limit we can burn up in the atmosphere while we try to get it." "Exit Theme" portrays a "Carpe Diem" kind of message, as Astronautalist raps in his guest spot "to that pretty thing with the glazed eyes I ain't asking for a dance I just wanna have a great night", before Sadistik adds "Make me young, make me numb until my exit arrives."
"Flowers For My Father" is Sadistik's account of 5 years of soul searching. "I think, in a way, a person is always looking for themselves, that's what drives them forward" follows a monologue at the end of "Michael", a touching paean to a deceased friend. It seems that Sadistik still isn't the person he wants to be, nor can he ever see himself becoming such. "Flowers For My father" is a compilation of emotions that he's felt up until this point in his life, and the realization and analysis of the point in his life that he's currently at. It's about as gleefully detailed as you could hope for from an artist who clearly (and rightly) prioritises substance over anything else.
Key Tracks: The Beast, Melancholia, Palmreader, Song for the End of the World
For fans of: Kristoff Krane, Cage, EL-P