PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.

Music

Antwon: Heavy Hearted in Doldrums

Antwon's newest release is sex-obsessed, messy and often excellent.


Antwon

Heavy Hearted in Doldrums

Label: Aesop
US Release Date: 2014-05-06
UK Release Date: 2014-05-06
Amazon
iTunes

Antwon is difficult to categorize. His booming, boasting voice seems perfect for golden age boom-bap. His lyrics could fit into many modern trap hits; they’re filled to the brim with drugs, money and ludicrous amounts of sex. But Antwon isn’t in the major-label spot light. He works with the guys from Das Racist, his tracks are produced by dudes who only have bandcamps and he undercuts his boasts with crushing depression. Oh yeah, he also used to be a punk rocker. Heavy Hearted in Doldrums is the Bay Area rapper’s biggest release yet and it mixes and blends the myriad influences that Antwon brings to the table into one messy yet rewarding album.

Of all the albums released so far this year, Heavy Hearted in Doldrums deserves the “Explicit” and “Parental Guidance Required” labels. It’s an NC-17 experience. Considering how much Antwon obsesses over sex, it’s surprising he ever has time to record, or sleep for that matter. Within the first minute of the album he raps, “All up in her booty and you know that she can take it / Got long hair but that pussy hair braided.” By and large he follows the “Having sex not making love” approach. On no level is this album for the squeamish or the prude.

My favorite album of this year is the hyper-grimy Piñata and even I have some problems with how explicit Antwon gets. The '80s synth pop production of “Baby Hair” adds a disconcerting bubbling sound in the background that, when added to Antwon’s line of “Pussy made me urf-quay”, makes it a bit disgusting, to say the least. The album has other rough spots outside of Antwon’s overwhelmingly filthy bars. A few of the features here fall flat, Sad Andy’s verse in “Don’t Care” weighs down the otherwise excellent song; his Auto-Tune rap feels completely out of place. There’s also “KLF ELF” that has Das Racist’s Heems spitting some lines. Unfortunately Brooklyn based Pictureplane’s beats drown out Heems’ words. From what does come through it sounds like it was a strong verse, but it’s hard to tell.

Outside of those pitfalls Heavy Hearted in Doldrums is probably Antwon’s strongest release yet. Ignoring Heems and Sad Andy, the guests are solid. Ratking’s Wiki has a syncopated flow on “No Metro Nome”, Lakutis has a high energy verse on the last half of “KLF ELF” and Andre Martel is a welcome addition to album closer “143". The best guest here is Lil Ugly Mane on “Rain Song". A word to the wise, if you’ve been sleeping on him; wake the hell up. The Virginia-based rapper/producer has an album coming out later this year and with tracks like “On Doing an Evil Deed Blues”, he seems primed to make one the better albums of 2014. He balances speed and grit on his verse with lines like, “They tell you keep your head above water to keep your status / But I’m breathing under currents without any apparatus.” He’s also the producer on “Rain Song” (under the pseudonym Shawn Kemp) and it’s the album’s best beat.

Still, this is Antwon’s show and his personality will make it or break it for you. He’s got an excellent group of producers backing him up and his chemistry with them is usually great. Cities Aviv’s heavy, piano-based beat adds weight to Antwon’s flow on “During Mimis” and on the opposite end of the spectrum is “Loser” where producer Stacy gives an atmospheric background for Antwon’s somber flow. Other than “Rain Song”, the best beat work is Suicideyear’s colorful work on “Don’t Care". His arpeggiating synths boost Antwon’s hook of “I know deep down she hate me / But she keep it all inside.” “Rain Song” and “Don’t Care” are the best examples of Antwon’s strange duality. He’s seconds away from slipping into braggadocious bars, but his own voice is laced with sadness over some truly strange beats. It wouldn’t be surprising if this becomes a crossover hit.

6

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Books

Horrors in the Closet: A Closet Full of Monsters

A closet full of monsters is a scary place where "straight people" can safely negotiate and articulate their fascination and/or dread of "difference" in sexuality.

Music

'Wildflowers & All the Rest' Is Tom Petty's Masterpiece

Wildflowers is a masterpiece because Tom Petty was a good enough songwriter by that point to communicate exactly what was on his mind in the most devastating way possible.

Music

Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' best albums of the 2000s begin with a series of records that span epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Books

The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.

Books

'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.

Music

1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.

Film

'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.

Music

The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.

Books

'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.

Music

20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.

Film

Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.

Film

The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.

Television

Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).

Music

Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.