Representing Park Slope with the aptly titled A Beautiful Mind EP, Brooklyn’s Pumpkinhead may not mind sharing his moniker with a horror-movie ghoul (“I’m not a thug or a rapper / I’m a monster”), but that self-assessment is certainly flawed; he is a rapper and a pretty nice one at that. Not letting the opportunity to make a good impression slip away, the emcee nicknamed by his mother for being hardheaded (no he didn’t take his name from a child-killing demon) demonstrates his versatility by exhibiting as much variety as a seven track EP will allow.
Though he first made noise in the late-nineties with Natural Resource’s Makin imprint, A Beautiful Mind can be considered, for all intents and purposes, Pumpkinhead’s debut. A relatively unknown entity despite appearances and affiliations with Skeme Team and Brooklyn Academy, Pump even begins the EP by mentioning that it’s “been a minute” since he last dropped a joint – too long if this release is an indication of things to come. Showing off that aforementioned versatility, Pump moves from no holds barred reflection ["The Beginning (One Verse)"] to easygoing comedy ["Supahstar (The Anti-Bouncer Theme)"] to a dedication to the ex-girls (“Mujer Triste”) to straight up battle raps ["Pumpin (Pause!!!)"] without missing a beat. That he is able to make use of different subject matter isn’t really that impressive; that he does so effectively without sounding forced or awkward is. Pump’s smooth, yet rugged voice and flow will please casual listeners, while more scrutinizing ears will enjoy his diverse and heartfelt lyrics. Check out this disturbingly conflicted gem from “The Beginning”: “She tells me to grab her throat up and choke her / and I really choke her ’til she throws up on the sofa / ’cause I had flashbacks of hoes that made my self esteem lower.” Will Tell laces the cut with an awesome guitar loop, the best beat on an EP full of good ones. The production always fits the mood Pumpkinhead is trying to convey, which helps bring the most out of his concepts (Masterminds Kimani’s bouncy “Supahstar” captures the club vibe of that track, Evin Price’s “Mujer Triste” is appropriately sullen, etc.).
Doing exactly what an EP release should, A Beautiful Mind has all of its bases covered. Highlight the talents of the artist? Check. Whet appetites for future projects? Check. Remain a solid piece of work on its own? Check. Do all of the above in an inexpensive package? Check. After all that, the only question left remaining is: When’s the LP coming out?
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