American Beauty is the perfect example of a fantastic idea bogged down by average execution. Alexipharmic—a Washington state-native and current L.A.-ite—reportedly wrote this record while road-tripping across 30 states. Much of the inspiration from his writing came not from the landscapes but from numerous interviews with men, women, and children he met on his trek. And those stories paired with personal experiences helped shape the 14 tracks of this slightly disappointing record. Simply put, Alexipharmic’s rapping leaves much to be desired. As I said about Kero One’s work on the mic in my review of his Early Believers album, his skills are extremely limited and sometimes awkward. But he saves it from disaster with strong lyricism. And the exact same can be said for Alexipharmic. He doesn’t ride the beat traditionally and his conversational/sing-song flow is grating at times. Like Kero, though, Alexi has a lot of important statements to make. He waxes poetic about sexuality (“Sex”), society’s pressures to be attractive and fit-in (“Beauty”), and loving the wrong person (“Kings”), among other topics. And he does it all with a positive, uplifting vibe that deserves attention—though the hook on “Kings” is a bit laughable. It’s just a shame that Alexi’s implementation is so lacking. And it doesn’t help that able-bodied emcees like P.O.S. and Braille show how it really needs to be done on “Stardust” and “Bend”, respectively.
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// Notes from the Road
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