Them / Themselves

This is underground hip hop at it’s finest. One of the strongest offerings on the ever expanding and boundary breaking Anticon label, Them is Doseone of cLOUDDEAD fame and the mighty Jel on the beats. This is a faultless combination and one that has been tried and tested many times, the most recent being Subtle’s awesome album A New White.

Anticon was started by Sole (Tim Holland) and Pedestrian (James Brandon Best) in 1998 and was born out of a love of poetry and the more traditional side of Hip Hop. Since then these lonesome travellers have stopped for any hitchhiking art school dropout or beatnik poet they deemed suitable for the Anticon belief system. Two of the first to join were Jel (Jeffrey Logan) and Dose (Adam Drucker.) Their first collaboration was on the 1998 self titled album Deep Puddle Dynamics. This was basically every one from the early days of this label and this is how they intended to proceed, with every one contributing to eachothers work. And so they did and have fast become one of the most prolific producers of challenging and inspired poetry driven Hip Hop around today.

I can't think of a single release not worth a listen and this semi-self-titled album released from 2000 is one of the strongest. It nods towards the more traditional hip hop more than most of the labels' albums, by this I mean it has beats. But they are intelligent and deep, organic beats that never over do it. Dose's vocals are as always pure, surreal and totally screwed-up genius. In one of the strongest tracks Death O A Thespian, Dose admits, "I don’t believe in Zeus but I’m scared stiff of clowns," and if you hadn’t seen him his voice would conjure up similar disturbing clown related images or even gnarled, jaded pixies that lurk in dark nightmarish places muttering incomprehensible words of wisdom. The clown theme is continued in another fantastic example of this partnership, Another Part Of The Clown.

The final track ends with the words, "You know when energy is flowing, teach yourself to write and let Them buy the album." This seems to be the exact thing this bunch of modern-day visionaries did, and my gratitude pours forth.