Ed Note: This was written back in July but never released. After a conversation with Yoh from TheTapeDeck.net about it and how he loved it and I didn’t, I decided to release this from the archives.
ANTHM is a German born, Duke graduate, Wall Street trader Ethopian rapper. A few weeks back, he dropped of an EP with seven songs meant for your enjoyment. Having heard the record with Blu and the Manhattan track with him rhyming over the Mad Men theme song created by RJD2, I walked away with a bit of curiousity so naturally when the “Joy & Pain” EP dropped, I gave it a listen and came to the following conclusion. I enjoyed the Pain more than the Joy on this EP.
The Joy songs are really happy and that’s just too much for me to take. It has more to do with the production than the lyrics which is unfortunate. Take God of Joy for instance. It has a very uptempo beat with a moving bassline and chorus that’s just a Nicki Minaj verse from belonging on Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. In spite of that, it is actually the one Joy song I enjoyed from the EP. The others, not so much. Siren’s Song was in the same void sonically as “God of Joy” which was followed by “Deliverance” with Janelle Kroll (who’s pretty dope by the way – check her website http://www.janellekroll.com/) and I’m ready to turn this thing off. Three uptempo songs reminiscent of a techno club is far too much for me but thankfully “Be Still” broke the run. Maybe the house/techno type of beats are not appealing to me anymore. If this was 2005 when I listened to that type of music, maybe, but in 2012 not so much. The final song on the EP was ok even though it returned to the lighter sounding songs. I didn’t like Freddie Gibbs on the song as he sounded unenthusiastic. I also liked the “wwagger jacking Jesus” line followed by a Judas reference later in the verse.
As a whole, three of seven songs only did it for me on this EP but ANTHM is dope. He story is interesting having worked on Wall Street as a trader which you can read on his bio page on his website http://callmeanthm.com/.
Is this a bad EP? That’s subjective and I cannot give this a definitive yes. I personally didn’t care for over half of the songs on the EP mainly due to the music behind the lyrics. On the other hand, you might enjoy the music sonically therefore giving you a completely different listening experience. Listen below for yourself. This is just what I thought about Anthm’s Joy and Pain dammit.