P.O.S. with Turbo Nemesis , Mac Lethal and Sims of Doomtree at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Tuesday (February 7). $12. 416-870-8000. Rating: NNNNN
This stage in the game would probably be the worst for an MC to come out doing something that sounds anything like "rock rap" (or "raw crap," as I always called it).
So you feel a little bit for Minneapolis rhyme scribe/beatmaker P.O.S., whose awesome sophomore record, Audition (on the heels of his 04 regionally acclaimed debut, Ipecac Neat, it's his first as a signed artist for Slug of Atmosphere's Rhymesayers Entertainment), contains a few alternative rock elements. Along with Pissed Off Stef's charged-up, word-savvy and often concept-heavy flows, some 'lectric guitars, grunge-style crooned hooks and liver-than-usual-sounding drums may meet your ears.
How the media is going to deal with P.O.S. and his punk-edged indie rap album is a legitimate concern for the thrashy MC.
"That's what I'm not really looking forward to, cuz the rock-rap label is coming," says the tatted 'n' pierced bass guitarist, skateboarder and Black Sabbath and Mars Volta fan over the celly while getting a lift to his studio in Minneapolis. "But I think anyone who hears the record without seeing a press release isn't gonna think 'punk rock' immediately. Or without seeing me you're not gonna think that. It just makes sense as a hiphop record."
I can vouch for him on that one. True, Audition has some of the intensity and sonic touchstones of punk, but you're definitely not going to hear any lame-brained assertions of doing it all for the nookie (come on!) or threats of breaking your fucking face. While hard, it's also anthemic and highly melodious, which I like. If you need further compensation for even the suggestion of rock rap on the record, you need only listen to Stef's layered lyrics.
The brainy album's all-or-nothing vibe, as P.O.S. kicks it from the Def Jookian side of the conceptual fence, lives up to its title.
"I was pushing for a re-release of my first record after I got my deal, and Rhymesayers weren't really havin' it. They were like, 'Let's get you working on another record.' So I feel like I stretched it a little - I tried everything I wanted to try. Plus, it's my first time with national distro."
Which should only increase what seems like already very keyed-up enthusiasm for Pissed Off Stef. Just check the reaction he got last year in Saskatchewan, of all places.
"We were in Saskatoon, and I'd say a low-level riot happened at the show. I dunno, maybe 20 seconds into my set, maybe six to eight fights happened in the crowd. The security guards were wearing bulletproof vests, but that didn't stop them from getting their asses beat by the crowd. Then some kid brought mace in and maced everybody."
And they call the Prairies conservative.