Release Date 03/31/2017
(Tygr Rawwk Rcrds)
Accomplished abstract poet. Early architect of electronic-infused beatscapes. Founding member of legendary left-field rap act Anti-Pop Consortium. Childhood Kiss fan. So reads the résumé of the estimable Beans, a New York native raised in the suburb of White Plains.
Born in '71, Beans came of age alongside hip-hop. As for siblings, he had one of each. His mother was a dietician, and though his father succumbed to cancer when Beans was 10, he passed on a library of books and records that his son subsequently devoured.
Rap's echoes came through the radio courtesy of DJ Red Alert. Beans' mother forbade trips to the city to catch Marley Marl in action, but the action eventually came to the 'burbs, as his older Bronx-based relatives brought vinyl with them when they came out to trim the hedges.
Holed up in the seat of Westchester County, young Beans was privy to what his neighbors in Yonkers and New Rochelle were up to. In school, DMX freestyle tapes and Brand Nubian mixes were traded like baseball cards. He'd taken a shine to DJing at 17, but switched to rhyming, as it was cheaper and required no equipment.
He'd long been into comic books and drawing, so Beans eventually went to college for fine art. While there, he discovered the burgeoning slam poetry scene, and made a name for himself at the Rap Meets Poetry series in SoHo. That's where the future members of Anti-Pop first witnessed him in action.
As an MC, Beans has very few peers outside his circle. Within the Consortium, his rapid staccato and distinct lyrical bent - a mix of classic rap braggadocio and fractured new school narrative - helped vault that group into cult and critical favor circa '99 alongside artists from Anticon and Def Jux.
Beans also honed his own beat-making style in the group, citing seminal No Wavers Suicide as his main influence (with nods to Sun Ra, Mantronix, Sonic Youth, Public Enemy and Autechre). Together with High Priest, M.Sayyid and Earl Blaize, Anti-Pop made four albums for labels as acclaimed as Warp Records and Big Dada, opened for Radiohead on the band's Amnesiac tour, and broke up in 2002.
Over the course of four solo albums, Beans mastered his craft. Tomorrow Right Now, 2003, found him laying arty verbal swagger over skronky minimal tracks. Two years later, on Shock City Maverick, he'd doubled down on both counts, sounding more confident, fuller. And on 2008's Thorns, Beans exorcised some spiritual demons, delivering his most personal work to date.
Tours and festivals came, EPs and singles too, and eventually, so did the Anti-Pop reunion. At the same time Beans was working with his old partners on their praised comeback LP, Fluorescent Black (2009), he was carefully assembling the bits and pieces that would become his 2010 Anticon debut, End It All.
In 2017, after a five year hiatus and the completion of numerous simultaneous projects, Beans has returned to the public eye with not one, but three new albums, as well as his first novel. Die Tonight, 226 pages of weird fiction, tells the story of Eric Ford, a teenage loner who gets possessed by a record, goes on a killing spree, and finds himself.
The first album of the music trilogy, Wolves of the World, features production from Canadian producer, Tobaggon. The second album, Love Me Tonight, features various producers such as Sam Fog from Interpol, Gobby, Laurel Halo, Container, Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe),Tobacco, and Pete Swanson. Love Me Tonight delves into love and all of its manifestations, both rewarding and costly.
Lastly, HAAST, the third album deals with social issues surrounding the increased unaccountability of violence towards Black America painted in a palette of expansive experimentation. The name, HAAST, derives from an extinct species of eagle that once lived on the South Island of New Zealand around 1400. The third album finds Beans working alongside Miami Schematic Music producer Ay Fast, industrial noise duo Snake ZVK, and string composer-arranger, Christopher Auberbach- Brown. All three albums feature guest dynamic MC, Elucid from Cult Favorite.
As his most challenging and ambitious solo work thus far, this album trilogy reaffirms Beans' pioneering stake-hold while challenging contemporary listeners, proving Beans' ability to create nothing short of what he wants.
Contemporary music landscape be damned.