B L A C K I E strays from original style with more coherent new album

Ali Breland

After three years, Houston grime-punk rapper, B L A C K I E All Caps, With Spaces is back sporting a fresh hair cut and a fresh album, True Spirit and Not Giving A Fuck. After ditching his signature B L A C K I E dreadlocks in favor of a cleaner look, his subsequent release of True Spirit deviates from the traditionally blown speaker sounds of past albums in favor of a cleaner production style. That said, the instrumentals are still pretty vitriolic, with quick, deeply distorted synth, guitar lines and enraged, thunderous beats.

The change works and B L A C K I E does a fantastic job of not sacrificing any of his unbridled rawness, despite not emulating the intensity of his live shows, where he has no less than 30 people surrounding him who violently flail and shove each other for the entirety of his set, occasionally using them to crowd surf.

True Spirit is probably B L A C K I E’s most coherent release to date. While his two previous albums, Spred Luv and Wilderness of North America, were among the best releases of the underground Houston scene, True Spirit illustrates the actualization of his potential. Before, if you wanted to show your friends B L A C K I E, you had slowly ease them into the artist’s dark, brutal world, showing them Spred Luv’s succinct and anthemic “My Window,” before moving onto the more caustic styling’s of “Regrets Of An Average African-American Amateur Drug Lord,” and “Don’t Cum 2 Houston.”

As in albums past, True Spirit is a very cathartic experience for B L A C K I E, as he makes allusions to and articulates his innermost thoughts, emotions and problems. On “Of My Enemy,” he woefully raps, “I want it so badly I might cry/Get me the substance, here is the money/Let me forget everything I miss.”

B L A C K I E frequently makes lyrical references to his mother on the record. On “This Blood (Helmet Song),” he spits, “Before I walk out the door, I hear my momma shout/Michael, watch for cars.” He cites her as a person very important to him and the reason for his early interest in music. He even recorded the album in her kitchen in La Porte.

The album is definitely one of the best underground releases Texas stands to see all year. Outside of the general amateurish tendencies and quirkiness local albums generally posses due to the lack of professional-level production, True Spirit And Not Giving A Fuck is really good and worth a listen by anyone who remotely likes hip-hop or punk or music.

Printed on Thursday, October 13, 2011 as: Punk rapper transforms original dark, brutal style