Shapeshifters Planet EP

Individually Shapeshifters have been making noise on compilations like Celestial’s Beneath The Surface and Anticon’s Music For The Advanced Listener with appearances by their two star members, Awol One and Circus. “We’re taking Shapeshifters more seriously, now,” says Awol One. In the last year they have released two compilation cassettes, Three Eyed Cowz and Planet Of The Shapes and a vinyl EP that have all helped to feature the rest of the crew. On the Planet EP, their second vinyl release, the Shapeshifters rhyme about things that are floating freely in deepest outer space (“Planet Rock 2012” and “Mos Eisley”) or those things trapped in the cell of the fleshy human prison (“Flossin’”). Whatever they rhyme about, there seems to be a massive influence from pop culture, especially television and movies. “[Television] is very important,” Awol admits. “Just last night Circus and I were watching the MC Hammer cartoon. That shit’s fuckin’ funny.” With rhymes like “When I’m in the room you don’t know I’m there” from “Flossin’,” Awol comes off as the most depressing of emcees. “I guess I’m kind of a pessimist,” he says about lyrics based “100%” on life. However, Awol can still hang with the space rhymes, as evidenced on “Planet Rock 2012” where he rhymes, “I discovered the Solar System when my teleporter stopped.” Circus, the other most visible member of the crew, is an experimental poet who rhymes his word-association poems over crazy beats in his high-pitched individualistic style. Most impressive is on “Mos Eisley” when Circus rhymes, “I will believe there is an E.T. before I ever think there is a science-fictional, mythological, magical, make-believe monster called the blue-eyed devil.” It’s about time someone said it! The other members of the crew come off sounding just as good, making the posse cuts into a virtual pot pourri of sounds and styles. Plus, the beats are nice and solid, and most importantly, different from each other. Shapeshifters succeed once again. (Independent)