Review: E L U C I D – Shit Don’t Rhyme No More (self-released, Feb 24)

I have a strange relationship with hip-hop. I certainly listen to a decent amount of it, and many of my all-time favorite albums could be classified as hip-hop, but it differs from many of the other genres I enjoy in that, aside from a few exceptions, I am much pickier about what I consider to be “good.” This was made painfully apparent throughout most of last year, during which I only really enjoyed one release (lojii & Swarvy’s excellent collaboration Due Rent). 2018 has unfortunately been the same; that is, until I discovered Shit Don’t Rhyme No More.

It’s usually a good sign when an interesting/odd sample is used right off the bat. In this case, the woozy collage of leading track “Swazi” is built on Björk’s “Pleasure Is All Mine,” also the first song from its respective album. On my first listen, the inclusion felt bizarre and forced, but it’s since grown on me substantially. “Swazi” is one of all but two of the ten tracks that were produced by E L U C I D himself, and is far from the only one constructed around a strange sample/homage; the beat “Rick Ross Moonwalk” bears a strong similarity to “Machine Gun” by Portishead, and on “All of a Sudden We Were in a Vampire Bar,” the EP’s closing track, the iconic vocoder of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” emerges. Normally, I’d be annoyed by so much transparent sampling, but each one actually feels at home amidst the other production choices, forming abstract instrumentals that shift and contort under E L U C I D’s cryptic verses and surprisingly catchy hooks. I’m so excited to once again fall in love with a new hip-hop album, and I’m hoping we get a full-length from this promising new artist soon.