Music

Felt: Felt, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet

Mike Schiller

Hey, maybe Slug and Murs can pull Lisa Bonet from obscurity into the public consciousness. Probably not, but anything's worth a try.


Felt

Felt, Vol. 2: a Tribute to Lisa Bonet

Label: Rhymesayers
US Release Date: 2005-07-12
UK Release Date: 2005-07-18
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

There must be a lot of pressure associated with being an independent hip-hop artist these days. Supposedly free from the shackles of bling and booty, the independent rapper is allowed to explore deeper things, via introspection and observances of the world around him. Problem is, sometimes the indie boys just want to rap about money, girls, and fame. Sometimes the indie boys just want to be able to write a song about getting laid without being accused of (cough, hack) "selling out". It seems as though every time an independent hip-hop artist looks anywhere other than into the gaping void of his own belly button, there are a gaggle of fairweather fans ready to beat his head back down where it "belongs".

There is a loophole, however: Obsess over an untouchable Hollywood vixen, and all is forgiven. Sage Francis is Natalie Portman's most public stalker, and Slug and Murs dedicated an entire EP to Ms. Christina Ricci. Now, the latter duo is back, not content to let Ms. Ricci hog all the action when there's another schoolboy crush to be dealt with: that's right, it's the one Cosby that the males could truly fantasize over and not get slapped with an Oedipus complex or end up in jail, one Lisa Bonet.

Much like the first Felt disc, Felt, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet has practically nothing to do with the actress in question other than the fact that two pointless tracks are named after her: "Lisa" (which carries the stupidly funny subtitle of "Never Easty on my Nextel") and "Bonet (Cement Angels)", which are both just telephone conversations over Ant's stellar production.

Oh, did I not mention Ant? He's along for the ride with Slug and Murs this time, doing production on the entire disc. Ms. Bonet's inspiration seems to have dropped Ant into a pattern of deep grooves inspired by the mid-'70s to the mid-'80s (Bonet seems to have this effect on people -- see Lenny Kravitz, "It Ain't Over 'til it's Over"). As it turns out, Ant is more consistently enjoyable than either of the MCs here, going effortlessly from a pre-Golden Age hip-hop beat ("Employees of the Year") to a deep soap opera groove ("Morris Day") to a Kanye knockoff that ups the speed on the chipmunked soul sample to laughable levels ("Dirty Girl"). Predictably, the Ant highlights are the two tracks that bear his given name, "Early Morning Tony", a down and dirty piano jam, and "Gangster Ass Anthony", which switches beats every thirty seconds or so. From the sound of this disc, Ant is ahead of the game even when he's not even trying; he's absolutely one of the best in the scene.

Less consistent are Slug and Murs themselves, obviously not taking things too seriously, but never totally sure whether they're goofing around or trying to be serious. If the entire album was a goof, it would be easier to forgive the frequent lapses into overt misogyny, but an awful lot of this is begging to actually be taken seriously. Lines like "Pussy don't drive this car, bitch, dick do" and pretty much the entirety of "Breaker Down Like a Shotgun" (which happens to employ an overtly Neptunes-style minimal beat) are just begging to be quoted by high schoolers that just don't know any better. Slug and Murs can do better than that.

But there I go, foisting my own expectations onto the unwitting dynamic duo.

Happily, the two otherwise generally eschew such damaging clichés in favor of witty wordplay and playful back-and-forth smack talk. "Your Mans and Them" is a fantastic ode to a suitor's competition on the dancefloor ("Hey dog, say dog, what's up with your guy? / At the bar, actin' hard, he's a magnet for a busted eye"), and "Life Vegas" rides a fantastic new wave backing to lines like "Everyone has a price, everything is for sale / We're as hot as fuck, but as fun as hell". It's a party, and we're all invited.

So sure, there are missteps, and even an ill-advised venture back into self-degrading emo-rap on "The Biggest Lie", but mostly, Felt, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Lisa Bonet is a party. Don't expect it to be particularly smart, to speak to you, or to change your life -- you're bound to be disappointed. If you happen to be a fan of Either half of Atmosphere or Murs, however, and you just want an excuse to hear either of them perform something you haven't heard yet, Felt, Vol. 2 will do just fine.

6
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Music

Run the Jewels - "Ooh LA LA" (Singles Going Steady)

Run the Jewels' "Ooh LA LA" may hit with old-school hip-hop swagger, but it also frustratingly affirms misogynistic bro-culture.

Books

New Translation of Balzac's 'Lost Illusions' Captivates

More than just a tale of one man's fall, Balzac's Lost Illusions charts how literature becomes another commodity in a system that demands backroom deals, moral compromise, and connections.

Music

Protomartyr - "Processed by the Boys" (Singles Going Steady)

Protomartyr's "Processed By the Boys" is a gripping spin on reality as we know it, and here, the revolution is being televised.

Music

Go-Go's Bassist Kathy Valentine Is on the "Write" Track After a Rock-Hard Life

The '80s were a wild and crazy time also filled with troubles, heartbreak and disappointment for Go-Go's bass player-guitarist Kathy Valentine, who covers many of those moments in her intriguing dual project that she discusses in this freewheeling interview.

Music

New Brain Trajectory: An Interview With Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree

Two guitarists, Lee Ranaldo and Raül Refree make an album largely absent of guitar playing and enter into a bold new phase of their careers. "We want to take this wherever we can and be free of genre restraints," says Lee Ranaldo.

Books

'Trans Power' Is a Celebration of Radical Power and Beauty

Juno Roche's Trans Power discusses trans identity not as a passageway between one of two linear destinations, but as a destination of its own.

Music

Yves Tumor Soars With 'Heaven to a Tortured Mind'

On Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves Tumor relishes his shift to microphone caressing rock star. Here he steps out of his sonic chrysalis, dons some shiny black wings and soars.

Music

Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras' tētēma Don't Hit the Mark on 'Necroscape'

tētēma's Necroscape has some highlights and some interesting ambiance, but ultimately it's a catalog of misses for Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras.

Music

M. Ward Offers Comforting Escapism on 'Migration Stories'

Although M. Ward didn't plan the songs on Migration Stories for this pandemic, they're still capable of acting as a balm in these dark hours.

Music

Parsonsfield Add Indie Pop to Their Folk on 'Happy Hour on the Floor'

Happy Hour on the Floor is a considerable departure from Parsonsfield's acclaimed rustic folk sound signaling their indie-pop orientation. Parsonsfield remind their audience to bestow gratitude and practice happiness: a truly welcomed exaltation.

Music

JARV IS... - "House Music All Night Long" (Singles Going Steady)

"House Music All Night Long" is a song our inner, self-isolated freaks can jive to. JARV IS... cleverly captures how dazed and confused some of us may feel over the current pandemic, trapped in our homes.

Music

All Kinds of Time: Adam Schlesinger's Pursuit of Pure, Peerless Pop

Adam Schlesinger was a poet laureate of pure pop music. There was never a melody too bright, a lyrical conceit too playfully dumb, or a vibe full of radiation that he would shy away from. His sudden passing from COVID-19 means one of the brightest stars in the power-pop universe has suddenly dimmed.

Music

Folkie Eliza Gilkyson Turns Up the Heat on '2020'

Eliza Gilkyson aims to inspire the troops of resistance on her superb new album, 2020. The ten songs serve as a rallying cry for the long haul.

Music

Human Impact Hit Home with a Seismic First Album From a Veteran Lineup

On their self-titled debut, Human Impact provide a soundtrack for this dislocated moment where both humanity and nature are crying out for relief.

Music

Monophonics Are an Ardent Blast of True Rock 'n' Soul on 'It's Only Us'

The third time's the charm as Bay Area soul sextet Monophonics release their shiniest record yet in It's Only Us.

Film

'Slay the Dragon' Is a Road Map of the GOP's Methods for Dividing and Conquering American Democracy

If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.

Music

Bobby Previte / Jamie Saft / Nels Cline: Music from the Early 21st Century

A power-trio of electric guitar, keyboards, and drums takes on the challenge of free improvisation—but using primarily elements of rock and electronica as strongly as the usual creative music or jazz. The result is focused.

Books

Does Inclusivity Mean That Everyone Does the Same Thing?

What is the meaning of diversity in today's world? Russell Jacoby raises and addresses some pertinent questions in his latest work, On Diversity.

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.