Anti-Pop Consortium, Tragic Epilogue (2000)
Poetic intellectualism runs wild on Tragic Epilogue, Anti-Pop Consortium’s avant-garde adaptation of beats, rhymes and life. You can hear it in the “Laundry,” (“Gun fetish/Suicide/Inverse in vitro”) dribbling from the “Smores” (“My dagger glistens and shifts like pistons in a V8”) and sparking “Heatrays” (“Tears burst from the clouds of bad dreams and dawn”). The Consortium have lurked around the NYC underground for years now, occasionally emerging to emit a few mixtapes and 12-inches (The Isolationist, last year’s collaboration with DJ Vadim, was one of them). Dr. Octagon, Freestyle Fellowship, Organized Konfusion and other rap dissidents past and present hover over Tragic Epilogue like ghosts. Two of them, Aceyalone and Pharoahe Monch, emerge on “Heatrays” and “What Am I?” Still, Priest, Beans, M. Sayyid, and producer E. Blaize are creative enough to forge their own reputations. “Shark-infested water/Message in a bottle/No man is an island/Individual, visual MC/Me, I love life,” says Priest over “Rinseflow’s” dusty electric blues; other tracks (“Moon Zerox-m,” “Lift”) sharpen into electronic blades. Priest, Beans and M. Sayyid’s voices are clearer than most MC’s, helping to etch their knotted verses into memory. Meanwhile, E. Blaize’s production versatility maintains the listener’s interest. If there is a problem with Tragic Epilogue, it lies in the execution: some of the choruses are so wordy and off-kilter they tumble out of the MCs mouths (“Who popped the stripper/Was it my man who blowing two L’s and flipped on some Jack the Ripper?” Beans blurts out at the close of “9.99”). Sometimes it seems Anti-Pop Consortium’s ideas can’t be contained within a song structure, though they often try to do so. 75 Ark.