Alexander Spit is a Los Angeles-based producer/MC whose debut full-length, A Breathtaking Trip To That Otherside, is a spiritual cousin to other like-minded SoCal psychedelia rap outfits like Gangrene. In fact, one half of that crew (who are labelmates, by the way) shows up in the form of Alchemist on “Getaway Car”, a chase scene etched into lyrical relief by whatever hallucinatory supplements Al and Spit happened to have on (or in) them the day they recorded the joint.
Indeed the bulk of A Breathtaking Trip is less a stark rendering of familiar, sample-laden Cali weed rap, and more a fuzzy tableau of modernist electronic/industrial set pieces amplified by Alexander Spit’s versatile and engaging rasp. Both components provide a ton of atmospheric mileage which serves to cohere the work into a formidable (though not quite breathtaking) piece of aural cinema. Most of the traction is gained by the production, all handled by Spit, which takes cues from fellow electro-ethereals like Blue Sky Black Death and team Weeknd (Doc McKinney and Illangelo).
Here we have “That’s Spit / Space Echoes” an informal introduction to the artist that sounds like it was recorded inside one of the L.A. River’s cavernous storm drains — the bass provided by blowing on the tops of half-empty 40 bottles, the rhythm section sounding like a cavalcade of repurposed garbage can lids. (These are good things, by the way.) “Coastal / Hyperion” works as both hardcore riding music and a trippy tune for smoking sessions.
There’s also some good convention here: “B.N.E. Remix” (featuring E-40 and Mr. MFN Exquire) and “Ride (Chicken Wit The Odds)” beg for requisite rap head-nodding in a live venue, the setting where Spit may actually thrive the best considering his less than thrilling lyrics (more on that in a second). The final third of the album is where all signs of standard rap hyperactivity give way to a meditative stimulant seance. Alexander Spit makes music to do drugs to (his bio on Decon’s website says as much) and the three song suite that closes out the record is evidence of that (see, also: his instrumental Mansions).
As far as the bars are concerned, Spit spends most of his time alluding to a lifestyle informed by drugs and fast women which, I don’t have to tell you, can become tedious. “Pulp 2013 / Heroin Chic” paints a vague after-party scene in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles (or is the rapper’s perception merely chemically induced?) and “Honeymoon In A Motel Room” is equally lawless. Beyond those hazy renderings there’s a fair amount of “rapping about rapping” which, admittedly, can be exciting on a superficial level just because of Spit’s natural rugged charm. But dude rarely drops a memorable couplet and too often his voice ends up as a mere ornamental component rather than something vital that truly elevates the music.
Ultimately the beats are Spit’s savior, and they redeem him whenever he (or a famous friend, as is the case on “Artesia” where Action Bronson cameos) fails to deliver inventive lyrics. You could bump A Breathtaking Trip strictly as a beat tape and still be satisfied. Alexander Spit isn’t famous yet — though he’s achieved enough national burn to garner a vote-in candidacy on XXL’s 2013 freshman class — but he deserves to be based on his inventive production merits. If only the talented Californian could step up his lyrical game, all bets might be off.