For whatever reason, when it came to make a follow-up to his still revolutionary debut Yoyoyoyo, Spank Rock decided to spend five years smoothening out his rough, crass edges and obliterating the bulk of the alien weirdness that made him so unique on Yoyoyoyo. The result was the (prophetically titled) Everything is Boring and Everyone is a Fucking Liar, an album so profoundly disappointing it briefly made me wonder if the new wave of smart young emcees had already wasted their potential. That isn’t to say the album didn’t manage some brief bits of excitement, but you listen to it and you get the sense that Spank Rock wasn’t just unsure of what to do after his debut, he was fucking bored, and that’s about the worst thing a previously adventurous artist can be. This is probably why when Spank Rock’s new EP The Upside came out in December, it received nearly no fanfare. I mean, I didn’t even know about it until I was researching a piece on Spank Rock collaborator Amanda Blank.
There are some reasons to be worried about The Upside, namely that it’s a small EP that is hitting three years after a flop LP and it features Spank Rock once again teaming up with more electro-house oriented production team Boysnoize, whose label he is also on. But there is also the indication that this time around Spank Rock is not giving a fuck in the best possible way. The EP was first teased via “Gully,” a track that manages to bridge the more electro-house Boysnoize direction of Spank Rock’s recent output with the sassy computerized distance of Yoyoyoyo, complete with a video that has Spank Rock seemingly taking all the extras from Diplo’s “Express Yourself” video to Brooklyn (there is even a Major Lazer snippet imposed):
But on the sissy bounce front, producer Kid Kamillion brings that style over in a far more explosive and crazed way on “Assassin,” the EP’s clear standout, thanks to the phenomenal chemistry between Spank Rock and Amanda Blank. This is a track that singlehandedly shuts down any notions of Spank Rock as an emcee who has given up on the game, showcasing his notable filthiness with its opening demand to show his oral skills off before shifting over to a showcase for his verbal dexterity, insert cunning linguist joke here. It has a hook that brings to mind Don’t Talk to the Cops’ “Gimme That ’80s Butt” with its big bassy computer voice spelling out the hoot, and the beat is ferocious, but holy fuck that Amanda Blank verse:
You can stream The Upside EP here.
Nick Hanover got his degree from Disneyland, but he’s the last of the secret agents and he’s your man. Which is to say you can find his particular style of espionage here at Loser City as well as Ovrld, where he contributes music reviews and writes a column on undiscovered Austin bands. You can also flip through his archives at Comics Bulletin, which he is formerly the Co-Managing Editor of, and Spectrum Culture, where he contributed literally hundreds of pieces for a few years. Or if you feel particularly adventurous, you can always witness his odd .gif battles with friends and enemies on twitter: @Nick_Hanover