In a rap game not short on out-there producers, Lee Bannon is making a point of heading to the outer limits.
The Cali-born, Brooklyn-based producer has already amassed a glittering CV: Talib Kweli, Ab-Soul, Curren$y and, most notably, Joey Bada$$’ Pro Era crew have all made use of his beats. Like Keyboard Kid 206, he’s proven himself something of a stylistic nomad, tripping from boom-bap to ambient to fringe electronica. 2009 debut Me And Marvin used Gaye samples to make scrambled head nod, and subsequent releases (The Big Toy Box, The Checkpoint Mixtape) upped the exposure. His real triumph, however, was 2011’s Fantastic Plastic – a severely underrated capriccio taking in Sun Ra, Matthewdavid and, naturally, Jay Dee.
Following on from the Caligula theme music 2.7.5 tape, Bannon is just about to loose Never/mind/the/darkness/of/it – his darkest, meanest EP to date. Compared to this year’s excellent work with Super Helpful, Bannon’s on a major downer – these are heavy, glowering propositions. They sound great, too: see the fist-pumping El-P feel of ‘Relalhmatic’; molasses-thick R&B nightmare ‘547’; and the shimmering drone of ‘Chocolate Coated Smoke’, closer in spirit to GAS than, say, Friendzone.
Never/mind/the/darkness/of/it is out this week.