By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
For the majority of the rap world, the pool of influences is composed of a very shallow range of artists. So many will list among their favorites Jay-Z, Notorious B.I.G., Rakim and Tupac. But artists Astronautalis and P.O.S. quite clearly stray from those conventions, drawing from a seemingly widening supply of muses. Really, to strictly label either of these performers as simply "rappers" does a major disservice to their art form.
Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. got his start in a punk rock band, initially dismissing the notion of the rap world as a whole. Astronautalis, on the other hand, began his career in oral performance as a battle rapper, only to incorporate the sensibilities of emo and indie rock influences as his career has progressed. Lucky for us, the two have found one another artistically as they intermix their exploratory ways. After each rapper appeared on the final song of the other's latest solo album, the two decided that a full-length collaborative effort was in order.
With three songs of the album now complete, the diversity of the project at hand is already apparent: P.O.S. brings dark, aggressive tendencies to the mix, while Astronautalis incorporates the layered arrangements as seen on his 2008 album, Pomegranate, by way of local producer John Congleton. Astronautalis claims one song already has more than 40 layers of vocals and says other tracks take stabs at today's literature, as the two lyrically draw influence from passing F. Scott Fitzgerald short story collections back and forth as they write.
The two embark on the Every Never is Now tour together this week, taking over Hailey's on Saturday night. And while they'll each perform a solo set, keep your eyes and ears peeled for a taste of what their full-length has in store as well. Look for that to be complete by the end of this year.
Joining them on the tour is the slam poetry-tinged hip-hop of Dessa, completing a lineup that caters to the experimental inner wordsmith in all of us.