Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip - Angels

posted 15 Sep 2009, 04:56 by The Editor   [ updated 15 Sep 2009, 05:30 ]
[Sunday Best]
Released: May 2008
This album's been in my possession for little over a year now and it's still one of my favourites. New purchases always get a bit of play time on my stereo, but are quickly relegated to rotation on my iPod. A testament to how good this; every time a track plays on 'shuffle' I have to listen to the full album again.
Like most people Pip came to my attention when the video to "Thou Shalt Always Kill" went viral in 2007 and I kept revisiting its ironic hypocritical rant on modern culture, gradually getting drawn into it's deeper meaning.
The Hip-Hop/RnB genre would usually be an instant turn off for me, but the lyrics of Pip are masterfully supported by the beats laid down by Dan, making it irresistible. The lyrics are pure poetic genius - there are recurring themes of love, life and death, morality, and self-improvement - rather than the genre's usual focus on "guns, bitches and bling". The only comparison I can draw on is the 70's punk-poet John Cooper Clark, but this is in a whole new league; based on contemporary social observation, but also providing insightful conclusions and consequences.
Pip seems to share my contempt with modern hiphop ("most of these kids could get their guns out and kill me, but how many have the skill to inspire and thrill me?"), but his goal is to prove that "hiphop is art" and not just a vehicle for accumulating wealth. He wants to make an album to "open people's minds", while challenging his peers to be more than industry puppets "don't make another pop-hit, be smart... use passion and heart."
"A Letter From God to Man" is a perfect example - an ingenious message telling the history of the world, set to a sample of "Planet-Telex" by Radiohead. (Stating the obvious) It takes the form of a letter from God - though religion isn't really the focus, more how mankind has manipulated nature and the concept of God to it's own interests, with the Radiohead sample perfectly representing our detachment from it all.
There are several songs that deal with death and which will genuinely bring a tear to the eye; "Beautiful" tells the storey of Tommy Cooper, showing that even the saddest of events can be a celebration, while the extremely dark "Magician's Assistant" deals with suicide and it's effect on those left behind. "Angles" is a sad tale told from several contrasting points of view, with the metronomic beat growing menacingly, until practically unbearable by the bloody crescendo.
I could go on, talking about each track, it's themes and sub contexts, but I'd be here all night. So I won't bore you - just go listen for yourself.


Ian Sugden

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