Some may call Awol One a crude poet, a drunken rambler, or a voice for slackers. Others may call him a genius. Either way, nobody can deny that the Southland rapper has maintained an uncompromising level of versatility and originality on the mic. To bring in 2011, Awol has partnered up again with Canadian producer Factor for what may be their most significant release to date, The Landmark.
If the duo’s 2010 record Owl Hours was their celebration of life, then The Landmark is their return back to harsh reality. Awol’s words embody the drunken grittiness of life as a touring musician. Between mellow but catchy choruses and raw beautiful beats lie images of the bright highs and deep lows of a musician’s manic depression. On the song “The Wasp” Awol sums up his emotional state by chanting: “I lost my self esteem such a very long time ago, but I got back my self esteem just one rhyme ago.”
As a solo act and a member of The Shape Shifters, Awol One has collaborated with everyone from Xzibit and Cypress Hill to Aesop Rock and KRS-One. In the early 2000s, when journalists didn’t quite know what to make of strange indie hip-hop, Spin magazine tried to pin him down as one of the premiere voices of “emo-rap” while Vice magazine and LA Weekly were singing the praises of his working man’s anthems. His 2001 collaboration with Daddy Kev, Souldoubt, quickly became seen as a Los Angeles underground hip hop classic and Awol hasn’t slowed down since.
Awol has been making records with Canadian prairie producer Factor who is known for his melodic psychedelic and folk influenced hip-hop beats since 2006. Over the years this duo has released “Only Death Can Kill You” and “Owl Hours” –two very different types of albums that demonstrates the diversity of both of their sounds.
Regardless, on their latest, Awol One still manages to splatter himself all over the Factor canvas with a level of realism that very few other rappers have been able to capture on record.
02.17 | Seattle, WA | Chop Suey
02.19 | Portland, OR | Backspace
02.20 | Boise, ID | Visual Arts Collective
02.21 | Reno, NV | Se7ens West
02.22 | San Francisco, CA | Elbo Room
02.24 | Los Angeles, CA | Echoplex (Fake Four Festhttp://on.fb.me/gnCF9I)
02.26 | San Diego, CA | Soda Bar
02.27 | Las Vegas, NV | Daddy Mac’s
02.28 | Tempe, AZ | 910 Live