Cadence Weapon, Breaking Kayfabe (2005)
“Breaking kayfabe,” which originated as slang in the world of professional wrestling, refers to destroying artifice and killing fantasy. On the album, Cadence Weapon complains about fake rappers who are “Sharks”: “I’m sick of bitches who are typing like they’re splitting inches off a ruler/To be judged by/If I were you, I’d consider my style metric.” But he’s not a crusty backpacker who incessantly complains about the wackness of mainstream hip-hop. Instead, he writes rhymes that describe his own reality. The most compelling example is “Turning on Your Sign,” where he talks about being a fatherless child; “Diamond Cutter” details his misadventure with a girl cheating on her boyfriend. His astringent and mechanical sounds – his publishing company is called Metal Machine Music, homage to the infamous Lou Reed album – skip like a scratched CD, evoking both Anti-Pop Consortium and DJ Vadim’s U.S.S.R. Repertoire. On “Grim Fandango” he loops an Italian fiddle over a thick drum pulse, coming off like a hip-hop godfather. Stylistically, he tends to stack metaphors on top of one another until they teeter and tumble. But some of his lines are so crammed with non-sequiturs that they sound unwieldy and indulgent. At the start of “Holy Smoke” he claims, “The truth is ruthless with the smoothest of pestilence.” Reminiscent of Aesop Rock, he’s a supremely confident rapper whose angry loathing and clever shit-talking bubbles and coagulates like hot lye. On Breaking Kayfabe, it sometimes makes for compelling and acidic experience. But it can be overwhelming, too. Upper Class Recordings.