Published Jul 01, 2016Toronto-based trio Above Top Secret make arty, political, lefty electro-rap. Their rapping is kind of sing-song-y, their singing spacey and ethereal. Their production floats, skitters and lurches; their lyrical structure is often a mix of call-and-response and protest chants. All that said, it's also a tremendously compelling listen.
Above Top Secret isn't really a rap record at all, but it's closer to being a rap record than it is anything else. Like so many interesting records, it manages to straddle multiple genres without feeling forced. The highlight of the record is "Bang," which features guest vocals from Lido Pimienta. The song flips the chorus from Nancy Sinatra's 1966 classic "Bang Bang" and turns it into a haunting, heart-wrenching song about police violence. "One" is equally good, employing a slow, hypnotic groove that has just a little bit of an Aquemini-era OutKast feel to it.
Let's make it perfectly clear: This is a weird record, and there will be many people who will not like it at all. But that doesn't mean it's not good. If you want to hear what actively pushing the boundaries of rap looks like, this is it — and it's fucking fascinating. (Daps)