A declaration, resolute and firm and unassailable: Jett I. Masstyr is a better producer than hasHBrown is a rapper. If Break Something, the year's second offering from hasH, serves no other purpose, it crystallizes that.
For mostly all of the album, (or all of hasH's discography, for that matter) his staccato flow jumps in and out unchecked, bullying pace and timing as it pleases, jabbing horns and Montell Jordan in the nose without regard.
You say there's only room for 16 syllables at the end of that particular rhyming pattern? Well, how about here's 23 and fuck you, his psyche seems to say.
It's can be effective in its chunky compartmentalization of words, but it only ever rates higher than "serviceable" when paired with production that yields entirely to its indirect intent (see: "Forgive Me Not," where he sounded like a goddamn savant inside the plyometrics of agapism).
The star of Break Something, big and bold and beautiful, is the production.
There are a few negligible moments ("The Devastation," mostly), but generally, BS's sonicism, a mosaic of nearly an uncountable amount of influences and instruments and samples, glows with creativity and ambition.
It is inspired and interesting, likely the two adjectives every producer tries to have tied to his music.
There's the creepy, cinematic suspense of the Labyrinth-y single "The Underground."
There's the self-aware modernism of "Dear Bartender."
There's the gorgeously archaic absurdity of "The Madness pt. 1," an instrumental interlude that begins predictably but unravels fully into a box of rattlesnakes (it might be the best proof yet that he is an insane person).
There's the wonky funk of "My Cutlass/My Cadillac," which mimics the post-pedantic progressivism of oddball Tyler, the Creator's musical thumbprint.
There's the [string of descriptions] of [song title]. And there's the [string of descriptions] of [song title]. And there's the [string of descriptions] of [song title]. You get it.
It's fun. The whole thing.
And it's proof:
The rubric for what rap should sound like has been expanded in all directions by the Internet.
hasHBrown knows that. And he is good.
But Jett I. Masstyr understands it. And he has touched rings with Zeus.
Download Break Something here. You can follow Jett I. Masstyr on Twitter at @JettIMasstyr. You can follow hasHBrown on Twitter too if you want, though they mostly talk about the same thing. Your call.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.