Hang Your Heroes

BY Neil AcharyaPublished Jan 26, 2008

Hang Your Heroes is a melodic album that strikes a good balance between gritty vocals and beats that range from jazzy to soulful to those meant to rock the disco. The 17-track record is drawn out much longer than the 42-plus minutes it times in at. That is to say, Toronto MC Arabesque is adept at saying a lot without wasting words in that trendy manner so many nerd hoppers are keen on these days. The intro has the sound of a Spike Lee joint, with its employment of a jazzy horn weaving in and around archival audio of news reports detailing the deaths of certain artists, most notably John Lennon, but also containing an excerpt of a Mike Wallace interview with Malcolm X. Rah Digga hosts Hang Your Heroes and is featured intermittently throughout the album, lending her voice and sectioning off the record nicely, giving it a good flow in a manner similarly employed by A Tribe Called Quest on Midnight Marauders with a successful outcome. ’Besque covers a wide range of topics — from the pain of the loss of his girlfriend to a tragic accident to political commentary to the ills of the record industry. It’s a strong effort from a talented artist, a combination that makes it fairly easy to make the bold statement in this first month of ’08 that Hang Your Heroes is one of the better albums that will be released this year.

How does the title and album art tie into the intro to the album?
I feel like society makes pin-ups to eventually tear them down. The upper crust builds up these iconic images of performers to eventually beat the shit out of them. The intro is a good indication of that, from Michael Jackson to John Lennon, both at the hands of the media. Me dangling by my neck from a tree is my David LaChapelle-esque way of expressing that. People love to hang their heroes; the industry loves to clobber artists.

Can you explain a little about the production process and the overall upbeat sound?
This record is a reflection of life. I never want to come off as restraining my sound. A day after it dropped, I had knapsack cats hailing me up on some tracks and bastard pop club kids saluting me on a different set of tracks. Some tracks are heavier than others but every song fits its purpose.

What’s this about Kanye being interest in your work?
I honestly don’t know. I just woke up one day and checked my MySpace and cats were congratulating me like I was next in line. To be honest, I have no idea. If it’s true, I’m not complaining.

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