Click album cover for D/L link.

After a week of listening to far too much Odd Future than is healthy for one human’s conscience to bear, it was incredibly mollifying on the dome to come across this gem, the 10.4 Rog and The Good Sin collaboration, Late.

Renton’s 10.4 Rog has built a steady rep for creating a diverse array of soundscapes that are influenced in equal parts by J. Dilla’s complex boom-bap and the electronic wanderings of Radiohead. The result of Rog’s genre amalgam trips are progressive, visceral renderings of hip-hop that feel more instinctual than intentionally crafted. Very few producers possess this aptitude which, in the end, isn’t about how nice someone is with Fruity Loops. Folks like 10.4 Rog and oc Notes do this sh-t based on hunches and less on the basis of study.

If Rog’s nine tracks on Late are the result of a naturally occurring head-in-the-hip-hop-clouds faculty, then emcee The Good Sin’s rich baritone is the anchor that keeps the songs tethered to the ground. There’s a brilliant dualism at work here: while the stark contrast in tone between Rog’s atmospheric instrumentals and Sin’s heavy voice is readily apparent, the two also work in perfect unison when Sin occasionally lets his mind and words wander inside the producer’s compositions.

For the most part, Sin is a cat still trying to find his voice, at least contextually. Dude can rap on most anything as his past drops and mixtape (Ready or Not) have shown, but listeners still don’t really know who he is. Late reveals the emcee to be a true poet who is equally comfortable exploring spoken-word’s ambiguous nebula (the album’s opening and closing, “Wake Up” and “Endpiece”) as he is rapping on concrete subjects like getting money and getting over (“Pages & Wages”). The Stranger’s Charles Mudede recently compared Sin’s rap ethos to that of Geo of Blue Scholars because of their similar working-class bearings. The comparison is appropriate in that vein, but Sin also possess a certain poetic now-ness to his style; a lyrical method that blends the esoteric and the concrete. It’s exciting to find that type of complexity in The Good Sin, who was previously most notable for his strong delivery.

Hip-hop is not typically something I listen to when laying in bed trying to go to sleep. While it’s by far my preferred musical genre, most of it is too immediate and glaring to be relaxing. Late is something much different, however. The album can be explored with a full ear attuned to the beats and rhymes, or it can be put on in the background and allowed to seep in little by little. It’s one of those rare pieces of music where my mind didn’t have to make the conscious decision to LIKE or DISLIKE. It just knew from the moment it filtered through.

Late is available for FREE download. Click on the album cover above or the Bandcamp link below.

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