Echo Cham­ber Mello Mu­sic Group

The Irish Times - - Friday Life Film & Music - DEAN VAN NGUYEN

Noth­ing MC Paul Bar­man does is ob­vi­ous. The New Jer­sey rap­per has no time for trite­ness, un­o­rig­i­nal thought or tired cliche. His third al­bum, Echo Cham­ber, is fan­tas­ti­cal and pre­pos­ter­ous in equal parts; an­other dis­tinct land­mark in his own cor­ner of the al­ter­na­tive hip-hop land­scape. Take Com­mand­ments, where Bar­man takes up the role of Moses, wryly pre­sent­ing God’s 10 di­vine prin­ci­ples be­fore adding a cou­ple of his own. Or Race, fea­tur­ing Young­man, which tren­chantly con­fronts the re­al­i­ties of white priv­i­lege. Bar­man can play fun­ny­man and philoso­pher in equal parts. Ei­ther way, his flair for putting to­gether words fires like a nu­clear re­ac­tor. In its style and pre­sen­ta­tion, the spec­tre of un­der­ground rap’s malev­o­lent su­pervil­lain MF DOOM hangs over the record and, in­deed, it fea­tures two cos­mic DOOM beats: 99.9999% and Be­lieve That. Best of all is the Masta Ace-as­sisted An­ten­nas, a mean slice of rugged street rap. Else­where, Quest­love is be­hind the boards on six tracks of­fer­ing snappy drum loops for Bar­man’s off­beat, wacky flow. Nerd­core to the core, he cares lit­tle for the met­rics used to gauge the qual­ity of most MCs’ rap­ping. For those who can tune their ears to it, this is a wild ride.

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