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P.O.S., Serengeti, CRASHprez

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

Minneapolis rapper P.O.S. continues to broaden his production style and stick with a blunt vocal approach. Info/tix

Photo by Chad Kamenshine.

Photo by Chad Kamenshine.

In a solo discography that began with 2004's Ipecac Neat and as a member of seminal midwestern rap crew Doomtree, P.O.S., real name Stefon Alexander, has maintained a mostly consistent approach across his releases: tight, enunciated vocals; overtly personal and political lyrics; and abrasive beats that often point to his roots in the DIY punk scene. But over the course of his discography, he's opened up his tendencies in beat selections (2009's Never Better is one high point in this regard) while mostly sticking with his distinctively blunt vocal and lyrical approaches.

His newest solo record, 2017's Chill Dummy, further widens the scope of Alexander's production approaches. There are still cuts like "Faded," which resemble his much older stuff with its sludgy bass and even sludgier drums, and Alexander also doubles down on his embrace of electro-funk on 2012's We Don't Even Live Here. Cuts like "Pieces," though, run more alongside contemporary trap, with its use of that in-vogue slick snare pattern. And on "Gravedigger," Alexander wanders through the kind of astral and cinematic instrumental that is reminiscent of songs like "All The Stars" from the Black Panther soundtrack.  

The approach of Serengeti makes for a nice contrast on this bill. A  Chicago emcee, David Cohn performs under this name and Kenny Davis, a fictional legendary emcee with a backstory and universe of his own. On Serengeti's latest album, 2016's Doctor Of My Own Patience, Cohn collaborates with German electronic producer Sicker Man, real name Tobias Vethake, with very effective results. Cohn raps, sings and sing-raps over Vethake's droning and ambient beats. It's the kind of devil-may-care, self-shirking experimentalism that you wish every artist would engage in more often. —Henry Solo