Beans, beans, the musical rapping cultural savant!
This notable rapper who is known for being part of the Antipop Consortium
was so taken with Viva Radio
on a fateful visit to an American Apparel that he sought us out for this session! Hence, we were thrilled to have him and to announce him as our 99th guest on Me + You.
Right off the bat, we are made aware of his busy solo career and a veritable who's-who of collaborators
e.g. Sam Fogarino (Interpol), Tunde Adebimpe (TV On The Radio), Four Tet, Tortoise, Tobacco (Black Moth Super Rainbow),
and more. Not to mention he is apparently working with M+Y alum Gary War
(who boasts one of the two vinyl records in Beans' collection)! Without dwelling on each of these working relationships he gives us the impression that collaboration comes naturally to him
, which might've explained the fine chemistry between him and Tedward
. However, he does shed light on his time off from the Consortium by explaining, "they needed a break from me [...] it's not easy being in a group situation...". Fair enough, and on that note the focus shifts to the 5th and most recent record in his solo oeuvre End It All,
which features the aforementioned artists on production duties, with the exception of Adebimpe who guests on vocals on a track. That track is *not* "Structure Tone"
, which is the first song in his set.
Beans delivers some serious mouthfuls and his heady musings conjure up some wild concepts as well bizarre scenarios.
Case in point: "good use of your skin for lampshades with... Structure Tone"
is a line that leads into the lone chorus, which finds him repeating the titular line until he drops out and the track plays on with its schlocky mad scientist lab sounds on top of a laid-back beat for the remainder of the tune. Having several albums to his name and armed with a CD including complete backing tracks gives Beans the luxury of being able to travel lightly and perform any old Beans tune he fancies, like the second track "Thundermouth"
from his previous LP Thorns
. He is more than happy to divulge his songwriting process, revealing the fascinating method of coming up with song titles first and writing lyrics accordingly.
Aspiring rappers take heed: he is always rhyming, writing, and practicing too.
It is quite cool that Beans is as transparent as he is, willingly let us in on what he's been listening to: Grey (Basquiat's group w/ Vincent Gallo), Soft Circle, Paul Salva, Prefuse 73, and Flying Lotus,
whose production skills can be heard on the 3rd track in this set, "Goblins"
. This track is the most dense jam of the batch, which is not surprising.
Towards the end of the session, Ted realizes that Beans is probably the first Hip Hop artist we've featured on the station, and it was about time.
Beans was honored, as were we. We all made it happen and we were all happy to be there. Before it's over though, Beans reflects on the current state of Hip Hop not with bitterness but rather namechecks some of the more worthwhile acts in the genre while admitting that he's not crazy about the limiting subject matter prevalent in some of the more popular artists' music. How could he be? Beans is creativity incarnate -- check him out on Me + You 99!