Art Therapy Part Two is here, picking right up where Part One left off, like at the bus
depot, pocket full of trust dividends waiting to hop into an uber and go somewhere to
think, write, or groove. And it might be a real good thing, if. . . .
. . . there were more room in the hip hop sphere for involved lyricism, or if there were a
premium placed on completely DIY production creeping close to radio quality, or if
there were more of an appetite for the truly independent aesthetic and not the
mainstreaming of everything as filtered through trope and cliche. . . .
However, there is the sense that vidpoet believes in an audience for his work—that, in
reality, none of the above is prohibitive.
No mistake, this is art rap with a golden-age scabbard. This second installment of the
Art Therapy series prides itself on an awareness of the music’s roots as well as its
trajectory. The formula is simple: a sorta-Philly emcee, vidpoet, over an Egg Harbor
City native, Steve Sperry. The result: engaging, colorlful, something outside the box,
but maybe with one foot still in it almost squarely as a pun.
Here, vidpoet’s poetry finds renewal through Sperry’s interpretations. It’s hard to
pinpoint what makes this music sound old and new at the same time. While vid and
Sperry have no designs on pigeon-holing themselves as a new bap [sic] or boom trap
duo, for purposes of Art Therapy, that is precisely what they are, and to great effect.
The sly suggestion here is that this stuff may seem—seem—easy to make. Full-on
verses, yes . . . no punch-ins . . . considering the phraseology,
vidpoet bringing his typical atypical on this EP, with plenty of provocation and imagery.
His delivery may be somewhat unorthodox, but he hits enough snares to justify his
sometimes following secondary, even tertiary elements in Sperry’s deceptively simple,
or simply complex, offerings.
Art Therapy, Pt. 2 celebrates what can occur when two artists come together,
recognizing what the other is worth. This has been, and will continue to be the story,
with at least two more installments of Art Therapy in the pipeline.
Getting it done in the living room is no badge of honor, necessarily, but when it starts to
sound like this, maybe it’s time to start paying attention. At the end of the day, “indie
rap” is not really a sound, or even a style. If it’s an approach, however, then it’s safe to
say vid and Sperry would happily fly that banner. Maybe it has more to do with the
point of entry than anything else? But to seem straight ahead while delivering aslant
does require a certain amount of skill, and perhaps to the more discerning ear, all of
this will resonate . . . and if not, this music would content itself besides, with vid’s
origami preciosity and willful obtuse re-contextualizations, and, of course, Sperry’s
natural inventiveness as a producer.
In the great tradition of rap music, Art Therapy Part Two was realized when Sperry
handed some hot tracks to vidpoet, and the latter spat over them. If expectoration
does not suffice to be a higher form, then imagine saying a rhyme in time over
something that you’re really feeling, maybe reading off your phone, watching your
touch screen fill up with droplets of saliva—some kind of guide to how to do it right.
That was the aim here, without putting on airs, to make this music in the manner in
which it was intended to be made. And some would say, this creative intention never
really strayed that far, only it may be more evident in certain places?