Sideshow and his group of producers have crafted an abstract and choppy soundscape full of soul samples and introspective lyricism.
Sideshow is a rapper and producer from Los Angeles. Despite his previous collaborations with rappers like Boldy James, MIKE, Mavi, and The Alchemist, the majority of his listeners came to his work after the release of his solid mixtape Farley, which had a very impressive feature list. But with the release of 2MM Don’t Just Stand There, Sideshow is proving himself to be a seriously special rapper.
Released on MIKE’s label 10k, 2MM Don’t Just Stand There is a short, abstract hip-hop record that begins abrasively. The opening track “2unchi Music”, produced by Alexander Spit (the album’s primary producer), bursts onto the scene with a seriously choppy beat. Its drums are glitchy and echoed for a few seconds, followed by an equally glitchy and distorted soul sample. This short instrumental moment is a great microcosm representing the sound of the record more generally. Gorgeous soul samples, intricate and complicated drum loops and fragments of various rap styles such as jazz-rap, conscious hip-hop and abstract hip-hop are all over this short record, bringing Sideshow’s sonic world to life. The beats also vary quite significantly, though. “White Fans” is bizarre, a sped-up and tinny drumbeat alongside occasional vocal samples which support a more manic flow from Sideshow.
As a rapper, Sideshow is still learning how to express himself lyrically, as there are moments here which become more clichéd or which rely too much upon the sounds of other rappers. But he can still pack a punch. On “S.H.O.W. Ent,” he gets introspective and speaks candidly about the problems which plague him. His vulnerability is particularly admirable and raw as he talks of being addicted to lean since a young age, hating fake love (“All that fake love makes me hate love”) and explaining how the losses he’s experienced led him to feel that his “life’s tragic, it be hard to fall asleep, eyes open, counting up the sheep.”
The album becomes lighter in tone in its second half as Sideshow portrays himself escaping his troubles through music. “2MM” sees him celebrate his work and talk against those who force him into a box or criticize him. On “Shell in a Ghost,” Sideshow talks of forgiveness of others and himself. One especially beautiful line: “Just forgave myself, I ain’t Jesus, pray my n*ggas learn to save they self,” expressing that he has to help himself and focus on that before being able to even try to help his loved ones and friends. It’s sincere and heartfelt.
Sideshow’s latest record is another case of the LA rapper proving his potential. Only being in his early 20s, he still has plenty of time to grow. When considering his already apparent skill as a rapper, with great flows and fascinating wordplay, it’s exciting to witness Sideshow grow into