UK Hip Hop: Artists & Discographies
Beans - Now Soon Someday CD [Warp] WAP167CD
Beans - Now Soon Somedy CD [Warp]
1. Structure Tone
2. Win or Lose You Lose
3. Mutescreamer (El-P Remix)
4. Databreaker
5. Gold Skull
6. Composition in Void
7. Crevice
8. Mutescreamer (Prefuse 73 Remix)
9. Phreek The Beat (El-P instrumental Remix)
Those guys at Warp are better known for their propensity towards bleep, but for a long time now they have also been purveying big beat and the more trippy side of Hop. Now they have a new signing Beans, who falls into the latter category and he has come up with a very nice mini LP weighing in at 9 tracks. Beans, from White Plains, New York is if you didn't know actually a big name in the game. Maybe without the massive sales people like Eminem and Fidy generate, however Beans as part of the seminal Anti-Pop Consortium has been at the forefront of meaningful rap for sometime. Unfortunately after his split from High Priest and Sayyid, Beans' first solo effort - Tomorrow Right Now dropped with hardly a trace. Now with his second some of the diatribe has been reduced and he has a renewed confidence in his abilities.

Now Soon Someday opens with Structure Tone a track dominated by a single off beat synth note with some LFO or other such modulation. A real simple beat to say the least, but somehow really catchy and head noddable. Beans verse is delivered sweetly with some double time flows, but about half way into the track it transforms totally substituting the Hip Hop for a sort of electronic / industrial feel. This part of the track is instrumental and I was left wondering what Beans was intending with this metamorphosis, probably just a manifestation of Beans' abstract nature. Win Or Lose, You Lose is a deep commentary which points out several things that are obviously taxing Beans. He moves from the dangers of Smoking to being an absent parent amongst other things. There is a definite feel to this track which could be paralleled to something that Roots Manuva might come up with.

For the Mutescreamer remix El-P has cooked up something nice which for me has an old skool feel with its incessant electroesque keys. Beans has an effortless style which obviously was formed by his early immersion in the Spoken Word / Poetry scene. Databreaker continues this feel with another sparse backing beat perforated with electronic sounds and one particular recurring hypnotic high theme. Much of Beans' lyrics are metaphorical or draw analogies. He is complex and often what he says can't be taken on face value without thinking about the other possible meanings of the words actually spoken. On occasion I think he can be too complex for the sake of it and could say things in a more straightforward manner which would make what he says more accessible to your average listener. Conversely, it could be argued that there are not enough MCs out there who are prepared to make you think about what you are hearing. Fine, but I'm sure some of this is is so obfuscated that the listener could quite easily get the meaning twisted. Still, that is what art is about, it is what you make of it.

Gold Skull again fuses some electronic sounds with a Hip Hop beat, this seems to be Beans' main compositional recipe. This sort of composition does actually suit Beans as he is very charismatic and able to use his voice musically as well as for just narrating over a beat. On Gold Skull he veers away from straight rapping to a semi shouted / semi sung slow delivery. I'm not totally convinced by this, but as ever it is great to hear someone trying to push the boundaries and not simply follow what the crowd are doing at the present time.

One of the best tracks on this mini LP is Composition In Void which hooks up a fat beat and again some electronica is harnessed for a light dub element whereas although I should be liking Crevice in the same way it fell a bit flat for me. The mini LP is more of an extended EP with the inclusion of another version of Mutescreamer. This time the remix is provided by Prefuse 73. The music provided is very much in tune with the other work of Beans and so sits well within the EP. The final track is a real nice track that is virtually instrumental. A touch more normal in its composition this is a remix by Prefuse 73 again and sets up a nice mid tempo groove early on. Throughout some of Beans' choruses are less than impressive, the majority being extensions of the verses and frequently repeated simply too often, Phreek The Beat on the other hand utilises a great female vocal sample and leaves it at that. Less is more.

The CD cover comes in the form of a small hard back book and I quite like this idea, its kinda like a Mr Men book. The design is pretty basic on the outside, being plain white with Beans' logo replacing the head of a girl. The back is similarly plain the track listing formatted in old Dymo style. Inside the lyrics are hand written out, but for me it is all a bit too small for comfortable reading. All in this is a very nice package from an MC without all the bull about guns, bitches and money, but could on occasion be seen as a touch pretentious. Never the less Beans is an MC who deserves to have your attention.

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