Opener 2:32am introduces the theme of insomnia, referenced in the title. It begins with static, and the repeating tones and strange countdown of a numbers station, creating a feeling of paranoia, solitude and trepidation. The first beat blasts in over the samples with the assault of first-wave dubstep or lo-fi, underground trap, Meraki’s flow a devastating barrage of triplets, sometimes nasal and imperious, sometimes breathless and anxiety-ridden: “Welcome to the shit show, my life.”
While MVCC’s flow and the Kid Robotik production are among the best on offer in this year’s bumper crop of rap releases, it’s the thematic concerns which elevate this to must-listen status. “My circle is smaller now, got a page in my book, let me draw it down,” rhymes MVCC on Sao Feng, eloquently expressing the sense of a shrinking, indifferent world which grief brings.
Like Physiks and Shogun, who both feature heavily on the album, Gasp’s brilliance also lies in being able to straddle different stylistic trends in rap music, from the intense assault of trap beats with dizzying multis, to head-nodding boom-bap and back again. His origins in the seminal crew The Being mirror the creative energy which saturates this impressive, dynamic album.