Hip-hop was built on bragging, but somewhere along the way, rappers started living beyond their means. No longer was it cool to rhyme about the struggles of everyday life; by the late-1990s, MCs had transitioned to the pursuit and glorification of cars, clothes, and jewelry.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the finer things, but how many listeners can really relate to that?
Most can’t. Maybe that’s why Quartermaine‘s new EP, Quarter Life Crisis, is so refreshing. On the new record, out today, the DJ/producer/MC laments more basic struggles: being broke, missing the bus, hating Mondays.
Take “Get Me Down”: “Mad aggravated at how my life turned out/I push a paper daily, hoping my job burn down/My education failed me ’cause I gotta learn now/A new skill that pays me the same I make already.” On “Giving Up,” the EP’s closing track, he worries about debt and bolstering his bottom line.
Stylistically, Quarter Life Crisis sounds steeped in mid-1990s boom-bap—-like it was recorded to be bumped on a Walkman. Its dusty instrumentals crackle like old vinyl. Over scratchy drums, “War of the Roses” finds Q examining his blighted surroundings (“Bodies are found, lives lost, stolen by karma”).
Forget new stuff—-Quarter Life Crisis is about holding on to the stuff we have. Listen below.