Hail Mary Mallon is the good-natured ghosts of two rap obsessives’ pasts coming out to play, memories of Wild Style bubbling to the surface from the guts of BFFs and underground darlings Aesop Rock and Rob Sonic. Listening to the HMM albums reminds you that these two guys care about this stuff. You wouldn’t consider it obvious after listening to their solo efforts, but they know that hip-hop’s all about the party and the bullshit. Old-school rap tropes we all know and love pop up at random, Big Wiz’s scratching muscles its way into the spotlight alongside the raps, and the rappers trade bars like they used to. The shit knocks. It’s Run DMC if their Adidas were black on black on black and their leather jackets had rusty zippers.
These tracks stand in bold opposition and stark contrast to the melody-driven sheen most popular production is moving toward. It isn’t the medieval minimalism of new school gangster production (like Roc Marciano’s obscure, chunky loops) and it’s not the go-dumb bounce and snap of whichever Bay area movement is popping (jerk and hyphy and ratchet, oh my!) at the moment. Some beats are just drum kits and bass guitars thrown off a cliff and left to explode like muscle cars in the movies. Others are katana-blade synths put in a blender with sludged-out guitars. Everything gets laced Aes and Rob’s signature cynicism and tongue-in-cheekiness. It’s exactly what you’d expect from them after their decade and a half making music and getting better as they did it. Bestiary is a beast.
Listen to the album below and buy it here. It drops Nov. 12.