Last year pleaded for a voice to attempt explicating an unholy, wholly nonsensical climax of black turmoil. The towering task would require tact, wit, and a fair dose of humor lest we melt down in the witch’s brew bubbles of contemporary America despair and anguish.
Enter CRASHprez with more perfect, the second piece of a four-part saga on what it means to be young and black in 21st-century America. The 21-year-old hailing from Madison, Wis., doesn’t speak — he screams, sings, and screenplays across 14 tracks of stirring transparence. Such a fair marriage of lyricism and mind-sticking rhythms is a rare treat. CRASHprez tiptoes a delicate line of militant lash outs and resonant, honest pleas, constructing a fictional narrative in which he’s been publicly declared dead to the public. We’re introduced to a feast of fleshed out characters leading one to wonder at CRASHprez qua film director. An array of clever, laugh-out-loud interludes unites the greater story, without a single track extraneous.
more perfect. boasts a slew of outside help, including a force of female features and poignant production by the likes of beatmachinearon as well as CRASHprez’s long-time friend and collaborator *hitmayng. CRASHprez’s army of flows morph flawlessly to fit the sweet variety of sounds present on the project. The apparent ease of his volleys comes off natural and honest to sculpt an all-angles-considered presentation of an ugly, fat, swept-under-the-rug American truth: all men may be created equally, but they’re certainly not treated as such.
The penultimate track (just before the haunting Radiohead-sampled “Thom Yorke is Black” conclusion) ends in a monologue between God and CRASHprez. Without spoiling how they come to meet (sometimes this project feels more like a thriller or Spike Lee film than an album), God comically dodges CRASHprez’s request for some theodicean resolution, blaming the death of young black men on white people, who he claims to have not created. Thus, in the broad universe packed into the perfect more perfect., not even the creator can explain away the unjust villainy terrorizing our country.
CRASHprez, like the God he creates, doesn’t have an answer either. And when gods are wrought in question marks, who’s left to lead the convoy? On “Paranoia III”, hiwot croons over a BoatHouse beat, “we do not belong to us/we do not belong to us/pledging to a flag that never fathered us,” capturing the unreciprocated devoutness and eventual isolation of black lives. But CRASHprez doesn’t seem to accept the trammels of “new slavery.” Rather, in deathbed-patient awareness of death’s proximity, he bleeds his life force into bars, clearly steaming with a heavy burden of which he considers himself responsible.
Deconstructing the status quo calls for a new vantage point. We’re all thirstily seeking out a guide to ferry us across the complexities of chaos. In the album description, CRASHprez ask, “Why can people with my skin die on a snack run or a night drive or in our sleep? ” CRASHprez offers a 61 minutes ride of such why-begging from a shockingly well-articulated and experience-ridden perspective. That’s 61 minutes in which we bob our heads in shared confusion, awaiting the third installment.