TUESDAY, APRIL 15, 2008 |
With references to Friendster, Limewire and the Dandy Warhols, rapper Roland Pemberton (a.k.a. Cadence Weapon) has limited his audience without realizing it. In a roundabout way, that’s a compliment to CW and his second full-length Afterparty Babies. Although the clever lyrics make you celebrate that there are still MC’s who actually care about the art of rhyming, the synth-heavy electro beats are tailor-made for ironic hipster dance parties.
“I am the ironic black at the fake cobrasnake house party,” says the Edmonton-born CW on “The New Face of Fashion.” The brand of humor and types of metaphors used throughout the album conveys the experience of the token black who is completely aware of his image, his friends and the places he frequents (which is something this writer can relate to). Of course CW’s image could be a direct result of his previous engagement as a writer for Pitchfork.
However, you can’t fault a man for the people he happens to move with his art and the beats on songs like “In Search of The Youth Crew”, “House Music”, “Unsuccessful Club Nights” and “We Move Away” make sure that everyone can shake their asses without giving much thought to the beautiful wordplay. “Tattoos (And What They Really Feel Like)” pinpoints the reason for tattoo culture and the mainstreaming of said culture (i.e. another way of numbing painful life experiences, a.k.a another substitute for alcohol).
Afterparty Babies contains a singular vision and never veers off course from that vision. But, to make a comparison to my hometown of New York City, one can’t shake the feeling that this will only appeal to the Williamsburg crowd and the new residents of the Lower East Side. When people complain about the so-called lack of diversity in hip-hop culture and rap music, Cadence Weapon proves that theory false. Let’s hope he finds an audience beyond Stereogum readers in the states. - Stephon Johnson