Orange Starburst Baboon An Da First Offense Vol. 1, an EP from New York rapper Oscar O’Malley, is about nothing. Not, like, Seinfeld nothing where something’s actually happening but it features no core storyline or themes beyond New York-brand narcissism, but the type of nothing where you’d might as well plug your headphones into a broken MP3 player and sit for 30 minutes.
This might seem harsh, but the EP’s diminishing returns are even more offensive. Turns out that Oscar’s got one of the most arresting vocal performances to be found on any unsigned rapper in a while. His normal voice, a nasally register funneled through a New York dialect, does enough to give him ample distinction among the internet horde, but when he snaps, he fucking snaps. The unannounced vault in aggression on “Psycho Moon Tonic” strikes like a rabid rattlesnake; he throws only haymakers over the murky “Quiet Storm” instrumental and, in terms of flow and intensity, lands every single one. Same applies to “Ol’ Dirty Snorlax”, an ode to “Brooklyn Zoo” that doesn’t feature awkward attempts at Ol’ Dirty’s ghostly wails, but more than compensates with explosive “Ooohs!” that bookend nearly every bar, keeping the unhinged velocity of the original intact while making it his own.
The other three tracks fall into the same category, as Oscar organically rides beats like “Verbal Intercourse” with enough eccentricity and roughness to justify their choosing for the project. But after giving the EP a couple spins, the smoke and mirrors from his exhilarating performance clears and what is left, a zonked-out labyrinth of near-intelligible phrases and random breaks in continuity will frustrate those not using the same drugs Oscar claims to.
Rap is not foreign to artists who go beyond shifting words around, and it’s obviously not averse to artists who patent their own words, but Oscar’s repeated use of terms like “cu-hos,” choopa caba” and dead-end verses like “screamin’ why would i loathe the night, slather the top to like mind a baby drop a coffin like why should I loathe the night?” make me suspect that he suffers from clanging rather than him possessing a hyper-coded sense of verbiage a la Aesop Rock.
What’s even more disappointing is that the dude has released a couple tracks prior that refute this, but tons more that support it. “CoKo Bajio” sees him reminiscing about his childhood, “Tim Flexwood” is a skit and a murderous freestyle rolled into one, but “XVI” is about… it’s either about him “getting in between dick very long” or calling women “a bachi bazoo,” whichever one seems more appropriate. His first project, the puerily titled Pussy Fried Rice, boils down to Orange Starburst Baboon with original production and a toned-down version of the same nonsense-slinging Oscar.
Listen to his music and call me out if I’m wrong. I can understand if this feat focuses more on the essence of rhyming and vocal malleability, but when it comes to brass tacks, listening to a grown man call himself a “Gaboo Stone” and get a girl to “sodomize diamonds” is a waste of time.