Clash (magazine) - "At 40 minutes long it's probably just the right length, and both beats and rhymes will have you reaching for the microscope to appreciate the layers and nuances of each, listen on listen."
Recording information: Thespacepit.
During the summer and fall of 2015, veteran hip-hop/electronic music producer Guillermo Scott Herren teamed up with Michael Christmas, a Boston-based MC who was still a toddler when Herren's first material as Prefuse 73 was released in 2000. Herren provided a multitude of beats from his computer, to which Christmas spontaneously wrote and recorded lyrics. The result is an extremely casual, playful collaboration, with Christmas firing off in-jokes, references to cartoons, and a plethora of exuberant asides on top of Herren's glitchy, trippy productions. Everything here is exquisitely detailed and busy, but not necessarily in a hurry to get anywhere. Herren's tracks are usually uptempo and constantly shifting, lapsing into backwards and sideways beats at the drop of a pin, but generally remaining sunny and bright. Christmas' lyrics often consist of lighthearted trash talking, but there are several songs about the harder times in life. "Circuit Breaker" touches on loneliness and alienation, and "Kids Kill" reflects on a disenchanted youth. "All Points South" is a bit more tense and continually threatens to explode, but D.R.A.M.'s sung chorus smoothes it out. Same goes for Alex Mali's lovely vocals on "In My Shoes." Even with these heavier moments, Christmas keeps the mood light with his constant ad-libs, laughing along to his own wisecracks and blurting out "tick tick!" during what seems like every track on the album. The buzzy, delay-heavy "Showstopper" reaches its climax with a multi-tracked chorus of Christmases crooning "I don't give a fuck." Herren's production is at its most wonky on the scattered "Japanese Mall," and he perversely saves his most affectionate melody for a minute-long track buried near the end of the album ("No Vibes"). Lady Parts is a fun, slightly chaotic album that captures the creative spirit of golden age rap, updated for the damaged attention span of a generation raised on social media. ~ Paul Simpson