Busdriver Fear of a Black Tangent

"I used to be on the list of the top five fresh hip-hop guys,” raps Busdriver on "Unemployed Black Astronaut,” knowing full well that being an "unpopular dope rapper” doesn’t add up to much if you’re not the kitsch performer of the moment. With Fear of a Black Tangent, Busdriver delves deeply into that topic on not only "Unemployed Black Astronaut,” but also on "Cool Band Buzz” and "Note Boom,” complaining about the proliferation of buzz bands while he and other talented artists (hip-hop and otherwise) are consistently overlooked. He even pokes fun at so-called avant-garde rappers with "Avantcore,” declares indie music to be "instant lunch” on "Note Boom,” and expresses his view on posthumous success in rap on "Reheated Pop!” But, it doesn’t really matter if his subject matter is a little one-dimensional this time out since Busdriver’s real strengths are his unique, rapid-fire flow, and his ability to string together words that sound good combined, yet never become too cryptic. Plus, guest appearances by Abstract Rude, Mikah 9, 2Mex and Ellay Khule, provide moments of relief from Busdriver’s intense lyrical wordplay. And finally, Black Tangent improves on Busdriver’s previous album, Temporary Forever, with a more consistent (laidback) sound from the production triumvirate of Daedelus, Paris Zax and Thavius Beck, who throw in a little of the weird and electronic. And the single beat contributions from both Omid and Danger Mouse definitely do no harm. While unlikely to make him a household name, Fear of a Black Tangent should yet again increase Busdriver’s already expanding fan base. (Mush)