Heavy Hip Hop Beats with a Welcome Sense of Humor

Lanzo’s debut EP Suspension of Consciousness was chilled-out and unnerving in equal measures – often both at the same time. With pleasing melodies juxtaposed with jagged drums, disorientating effects, dark humor and disturbing dialogue taken from cartoons and films of yesteryear, the EP gave the perfect introduction to this rising Chicago beatmaker.

Released on 4/20, ‘Burn Better Trunks’ stylistically picks up where the heavier moments of his debut left off, and his sense of humour is even more apparent. The tracks are a little slower, the drums have more ‘thump’, the low-end has more ‘uumph’ and the vocal snippets are more hyper. Lanzo’s love of glitch and pitch-shifting effects is more blatant this time around, creating a greater sense of giddiness. The cartoon samples have been ditched in place of ‘stoner’ movie dialogue more befitting of the project’s outright ‘smoggy’ vibe.

Clocking in at just over twenty minutes, the project doesn’t tire. Immediate standouts include the sleazy, low-slung ‘BodyByBelladonna’, in which a female vocal seems to sing ‘darling’ over gentle guitar licks. This blissed-out loop is interrupted by short bursts of a man gagging (or belching?!) and a rickety fairground ride noise – a Lanzo staple – lurks in the background. ‘MORNING SEX’ is another track which partners the sensual with the comedic. Here, a beat which otherwise wouldn’t be out of place in an adult movie is skewered by the sound of an over-excited primate. Another highlight, ‘ReUp’, recalls Madlib in Quasimoto / Beat Konducta in India mode.

The final track, ‘Alexa’s Lullaby’ is a beautiful, melancholy slice of unquantized drums and lovely jazz samples. A female electronic voice, which bookends the project in a style that A Tribe Called Quest fans may find similar to the ‘Midnight Marauders Tour Guide’, enhances the cohesion and narrative of the project.

Although the earlier tracks are slathered in Erick Sermon-style funk, and Madlib / Mr Dibia$e style chops and eccentricity appear throughout, this beatmaker has a personality and signature sound that is strong enough for listeners to become addicted to in its own right.

Burn Better Trunks builds on the promise Lanzo has shown up to this point and further suggests that, for all his musical moments of dark humour, a bright future lay ahead for this beatmaker.

More info on Burn Better Trunks here


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