RubiconTINENTAL – Trillogy – EP Review
Whether or not RubiconTINENTAL has found something here that’s going to catch on…I’m not entirely sure. With the three-songs on his new record Trillogy, he’s made his opinions quite clear…believe me when I say that this is definitely not the kind of artist that holds back anything he wants to say! Lyrically clever…some people are going to get RubiconTINENTAL’s sense of humor…and personally I found a ton of this to be absolutely hilarious. It’s rude as fuck – but it’s hilarious all the same.
I MIGHT feel worse about laughing…but the very first time I ended up laughing out loud in checking out the first song “Block That Hoe” it was only seconds later that RubiconTINENTAL ended up laughing out loud on the track in agreement. I mean…some shit’s just universally funny…so loosen up and leave any kind of political correctness at the door and have some fun listening to these tunes.
There’s a couple ways I can look at this…with the elements of humor and the songify-approach to the vocals masking the real sound and providing a comfortable space behind the shroud – you can make an argument that RubiconTINENTAL might still be on his way to finding his sound. Quite honestly – when I first started out on vocals myself, I went the exact same direction…because it DID make me comfortable and I was able to eventually break free of the humor and actually write something serious one day. A lot of what I heard here on Trillogy reminded me of that…but you could also look at it as RubiconTINENTAL also developing what could become a signature style. He gets a bit more serious at the end of the EP on “Yo’ Batter Don’t Matter” – but in this particular example it’s almost harder to hear that connection to the words that he has when he’s telling jokes and right in the flow.
So…overall…it’s a bit of a mix…but he could be onto something. “Block That Hoe” is honestly one of the weirder & more bizarre beats you’ll hear this year…each time I heard it and got to the melodic hook in the vocal-flow I had to shake my head & wonder how we even ended up there! It’s loose in the sense that nothing seems like it should link-up and find cohesion…but oddly it does. There IS a hook buried in the mix of the vocal-filters…but I’ll admit RubiconTINENTAL has made it tougher to get to than most when you’re listening. Few slight issues with the metering and a loose vocal structure make for a track you have to pay attention to in order to absorb…but on the bright-side, if you’ve got a sense of humor and a dirty mind, you’ll be there to listen to what he’s rhyming about and go back for more.
“UpDownUp” still has a bizarre combination of electro that seems to somehow find a way to work. You can certainly make an intense argument on behalf of RubiconTINENTAL’s creativity…and this track might get the honors of being some of the rudest & crudest lyrics I’ve heard in quite a while – and again, if you know my own musical history then you know that’s saying a lot. That being said, “UpDownUp” has a bit of a crisper mix to the music…I thought overall the ideas were stronger than “Block That Hoe” by comparison. Jokes are good…focused jokes are even better and I think that RubiconTINENTAL shows a much more focused attack and approach on this second tune. Is there a market for this? Yes actually…and it’s still wide-open; as straight-up shocking as the lines might be to many people out there – there’s also still a large enough audience out there that are highly entertained by ideas like these. “UpDownUp” follows a straighter line to its perspective, points and melody than the EP’s opening tune.
Now…I don’t want anyone to think he’s gone soft in this final track…there are still plenty of jokes in “Yo Batter Don’t Matter” but it also leans a lot more towards the serious-side of RubiconTINENTAL’s work. Main issue being when switching into the serious lines, it’s still all laid out in the auto-tune; those out there that have read my reviews in the past know I fully support auto-tune…but I more strongly support having the right energy & tone to match the words. The playful frequency & pitch-shifting of the auto-tune serves the humor-side of RubiconTINENTAL’s music really well – but I think the added weight he’s looking to add to anything more serious than a joke ends up being watered down slightly by this choice. “Yo Batter Don’t Matter” is also fairly loosely structured as well…it’ll prove to be another tough one for people to latch onto…but those that like a more avant-garde approach or free-style spoken-word approach to music will dig this.
Overall…dirty songs don’t frighten me away personally…and my own maturity level had me laughing right along with a lot of what RubiconTINENTAL came up with lyrically throughout these three cuts. Musically…it’s highly experimental…minimalist in style with strange electro-elements often driving the beat…like wild Kaossillator sounds at random at times…at others, it feels as if he’s playing the long-game as it takes a minute or two to catch onto how the melody works. Definitely an expressive three tunes…I can’t imagine that RubiconTINENTAL came out of this feeling as if he didn’t at least get a few thoughts & feelings off his chest, onto the page and into the microphone. It’ll be interesting to hear where he takes it from here and how…or IF the project continues to refine the idea and mature from here!
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