The third out of a total of four mixtapes preceding I Self Devine's sophomore album was made available recently, along with another video, directed by Dave Wilson. This is the last free mix available from the Culture Series, as number four will come along with a pre-order of the album The Sound Of Low Class Amerika.
This is Reports From the Field, people.
Lead single "Pretty Sickness" features Ak-Rite of The Usual Suspects, who typically plays the role of I Self's backing rapper for live performances. The accompanying video captures the druggy vibe of the laid-back track, produced by sample masters Benzilla and Medium Zach, as we follow the narrator into a den of iniquity covered in paraphernalia and users, barely moving.
It's a dark and seedy video that moves at a glacial pace, contrasting a number of recent videos that approach drug use from a purely party perspective. A much more complete angle on the subject, the song deals with "the aesthetic of addiction" from a realist's stance. It focuses on specific imagery ("Resin on fingertips / Slump leanin / Promethazinin' / Jolly Ranchers in a styrofoam") to give a window into the mind of the addicted, while zooming out to show consequences and larger impacts ("Teeth fallin out / Piss blood, hair fallin out / Pigs apprehended / Protective custody where they sent him / No visits"). It's stark while eerily inviting.
Ak-Rite takes the "Pretty Sickness" concept into a sexual realm, with possibly one of the filthiest verses from a Minnesota rapper in some time. The freaky tales play over a scene of a prostitution proposition, posing another form of addiction and temptation from the perspective of a young sex fiend.
Stream the mixtape "Reports From The Field: In The Trenches" below or download here :