I finally picked up Cannibal Ox's "The Cold Vein" about six months ago (too late I know). Originally I picked it up to hear some more vintage El-P production, but what really struck me was Vast Aire's rhymes. I'd heard him before on some guest spots and I'd really enjoyed his slow, lazy style, but what I heard on The Cold Vein just blew me away.
In their best moments, his lyrics are arresting and evocative. Listening to Vast came me the confidence that rap doesn't have to be ultra-rhythmically-complex to sound good and be effective.
One of my favourite Vast verses is his one on A B-Boy's Alpha. When I first heard this I just couldn't believe what I was hearing. The authenticity in his words, the sheer bluntness and honesty. It's simply astounding.
My mother said:
"You sucked my pussy when you came out
Don't ever talk back
I handed you life, and I'll snatch it back"
I'm just a latch key kid with a snotty nose
High school drop out
Space, I'm around me whiteout
And I ain't dealin with no minimum wage
I'd rather construct rhymes on a minimum page
Cynical ways, cats sin for nickels these days
Pulling the chrome out
And you actin like pullin the chrome out
Hated the sound of grandma's cryin the crooked letter
You could hear it from the ground or when the sky thunders
Made you wonder 'bout early
Relatives dressed in black and they all mourning
Flows be bangin in the paint, throwin elbows
My first fight was me against five boroughs
I lost my first wish
But remembered every detail of my first kiss
That's that Bronx Tale bliss
The holiest of holies
Hip hop, it was '88
Even at the age of 10, phrases levitate
Drinkin Lil' Hug quarter waters
Dodgin stray slugs on the corner in that exact order
Why you playin, death is what happens?
I found the passion in aerosol cans and hands clappin
Backspins, microphones and cats rappin
Linoleum and up rockers, the show shockers
Who rip knee patches off of imposters
You ain't the Real McCoy, you a wind up toy
And it's gonna cost ya
And that's my B-Boy Alpha