Apathy has been putting it down for almost twenty years now, with Connecticut Casual marking his fourth solo album in the can, not counting various projects with The Demigodz, The Get Busy Committee, and Army Of The Pharaohs. We’ve seen him kill it multiple times with his vocabulary rich, breathless brand of lyricism, so there’s no doubt of his skill on the mic, nor his taste in beats, for that matter. So what does Ap do for his fourth LP? A concept album, naturally.
As far as this type of thing goes, Connecticut Casual isn’t as heavy as say, The Roots …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, for example. It’s a pretty straight-shooting, classically styled hip-hop record, but Ap ties the entire thing together by using his home state as a backdrop. Using the New England area’s rich history as a blueprint, he examines the state’s dichotomy of its Yacht-owning upper class, and it’s seedier crime ridden underbelly.
So songs like “The Curse Of The Kennedys” and “Jack Ruby” are built around New England’s more notorious and well-known events, while tracks like the Wham-sampled “Martha Moxley (Rest In Peace)” and “Local Only!” explore its more offbeat, unsolved mysteries. Yet it’s not a boring, lyrical Wikipedia reading of the history of his home, just more of a set piece for his still super-lyrical onslaught.
The production and song-writing is top notch, as tracks like “Back In New England”, “Beefin’ Over Bitches”, and the title track explore the neighborhood’s local color, from the perspective of a man that’s obviously lived through it. He gets a little more personal on “The Grass Ain’t Greener” and “Money Makes The World Go Round”, both of which examine his place in the game. Another standout is the pirate song “Don’t Give Up The Ship”, with a memorable hook from local rapper Kappa Gamma.
Rock sampled “Underground Chick” is the perhaps the only thing that seems a bit out of place with the rest of the album, yet this may be the song that resonates with the crowd-going fanbase the most at shows. The Freemasonry examination “The Grand Leveler” is an honest look at the fraternal organization, but may scare off hip-hop’s large Illuminati-fearing massive.
Most rappers or rap acts ultimately have two or three strong releases in their catalog, when all is said and done. However Apathy is quickly showing his strength for longevity in this game, especially considering all the industry ups-and-downs he’s been through. Connecticut Casual is another well put together album, with very interesting, unexplored territory in hip-hop music. As they say in the yacht clubs, “Well done, old chap.”
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