The second dose of hope, in as many weeks, for the future of hip-hop has revealed itself to the world. In a swamp of debauchery, lack of intellect, and poorly driven dreams, we’ve been left with a depressing outlook on the future of hip-hop; both in lyrics and in context.
The arrival of This Is Our Science could not come at a better time. As sung by Astronautilis himself: “A sinking ship is still a ship” in an ominous almost unintentional proclamation toward the future of hip-hop in the opening track “The River, the Woods.” Even if it’s going down there is still a responsibility to pioneer on. The Floridian transcends the genre with his fourth album, his first on the Fake Four label. Delivering heavy hitting beats along with masterfully designed lyrics, Andy Bothwell lifts the future of hip-hop on the shoulders of the independent, hard working musician and takes a sturdy, loud step forward. Under the alter ego Astronautilis, Bothwell has revealed an incredibly revealing and emotional eleven tracks.
His words do not fall in waste about being a thug, drugs, sex, what his name is, or if the real him will stand up, but live on as they’re sung about reality. I can’t say I know of another artist in this genre that will quote Joni Mitchell. In “Dimitri Mendeleev,” which in title alone is a profound leap to intellect, he cites the ideological verse “We are stardust/ we are golden” in his unique raspy voice. Not every track is a constant bass pumping sing off. The variation of melodic poise to rampant pacing breathes life into a thoroughly entertaining 37 minutes.
It is really a refreshing to have an album that delivers on several levels. To classify within such a smeared genre would be unjust. Prevailing as nearly punk/hip-hop, This Is Our Science skews the line drawn into the sound of both styles. As each word is well defined and uniquely blurs into the next, Bothwell’s vocals build an addiction that keeps you clinging to each word as he rips through a verse. This spin has me hitting repeat on each track before I dare move to the next because my fascination in what he has to say prohibits me from continuing until I’m certain I’ve heard it all.
Astronautilis’ fourth album mows down generalizations and assumptions of an experienced genre with a meticulous barrage of intellect and finesse. The cultivation of intellect and hip-hop, as rare as it is, is exemplified throughout the album. With This is Our Science, the future looks bright.