To call Chicago MC V8 unique would be an understatement. While his unorthodox rhyming style draws inspiration from underground hip hop mainstays like El-P and Aesop Rock, whenever V8 appears on a track, you know it’s him. While the word abstract is often misused as a blanket description for thought provoking hip hop, it’s the perfect word to describe V8’s musical approach. His voice, delivery, and content all walk the fine line between brilliance and absurdity. It’s clear he has a perspective to share, and even though his linguistic armor often shrouds his message, the style is so fresh that it forces me to keep listening and extract whatever meaning I can.
I got into V8’s music through his collaborations with Brooklyn producer A.M. Breakups, who has also worked extensively with Thought on Tracks favorite billy woods. Breakups and his roommate Jeff Markey (who together go by Surface Tension Beekeepers) teamed up with V8 while the rapper was in Brooklyn for a recent weekend to create an excellent little release entitled Venus Infinity. While I haven’t heard any material from V8 since his last collab with Breakups a couple years ago, he picks up right where he left off in creating a trio of trippy, introspective sonic bursts. A.M. Breakups and Jeff Markey provide the perfect soundscape for V8’s maniacal musings , Markey’s psychedelic strummer “Spraycans for Chanclates (Metal On Metal)” sets the table for one of V8’s best ever performances. He raps “My sentences run forever like Kenyans/ I’m not playing, like video games after Sega Genesis” and shows off his ‘nothing is as it seems’ metaphorical style. Each song is stranger than the last, closing with the seductive but cryptic track “Drinking Water for Lovers”. Stream/Download Venus Infinity below and get a taste of why A.M. Breakups’ new label Reservoir Sound, and V8 in particular, is a collective I’m really excited about.
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Written by John Bugbee