Young padawan Porter Ray, freak of rap nature (and, as of two hours ago, Sub Pop Record’s newest signee) with a new collection of songs for your head piece. Fundamentals picks up where RSE GLD and WHT GLD left off: Our young g rising in the music game, seeking redemption from the streets, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot, and a couple shorties’ worth of math to text in the after hours. Porter’s Twitter handle is @porterbeplayin but this young man is decidedly not.
Aesthetically, Fundamentals is cleaner around the edges as compared to the MCs trio of 2013 EPs. The sample-based, jazz and boom-bap has been tightened up and the mix is far cleaner. This is where I say something about artistic growth and bigger budgets, and blah blah blah, and all of it would be true. But it still feels like Porter is finding his footing, which might be the most exciting part of his narrative thus far. Lyrically, you would be hard pressed to find a Seattle rapper with a better handle on words; his level of articulation falls somewhere categorically Nas-like.
Porter triangulates wizened block business (“Dice Game Diagrams”), matters of friends and family (“Ruthie Dean,” “On The Slick”), and several doses of horny defamation (“Fatal Attractions,” “French Kiss”) into a singular worldview considerably more sumptuous and unstable than yours or mine. If this is a lifestyle actually being lived, it’s hard to imagine finding any peace, which is what Porter Ray seeks at the conclusion of Fundamentals. The three songs that close out the album — “Searching,” “Sunrise” and “Meditate” — find him asking for some type of spiritual blessing, which is just fine. He’s been the one doing all of the blessing to this point, anyway.