Dälek: Dälek – Absence

Music Reviews
Dälek: Dälek – Absence

Rapper Dälek’s fourth album, Absence, captures the dark frustration of a “bastard child of Reaganomics posed in a b-boy stance,” combating an impenetrable machine in both his society and musical genre. At a time when the originality hip-hop once thrived on seems to have hit a speed bump, Dälek is a breath of fresh air, even if that air is heavy with the stench of grotesque social truths. The social awareness and righteous anger here recall Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions and Company Flow.

But what separates Dälek from these hip-hop icons is his lack of skills on the mic. Though compelling, Dälek lacks the charisma of a KRS-ONE or Chuck D, his modest flow steadfast but inconsistent. When it’s off, it’s like he’s not even there. The lyrics are eloquent and immediately relevant, but are left screaming for the spotlight.

Tracks like “Opiate of the Masses” and “Culture For Dollars” showcase the three-man crew’s dark, grimy, industrial style. Dälek, Octopus and Still build a sonic landscape of layered distortion, shadowy scratches, gritty beats and thought-provoking lyrics that immediately reel in the discerning listener and repel those without a stomach for experimentation. Through its intriguing imperfections, Absence stands in stark contrast to modern hip-hop’s well-documented lyrical vapidity and uninspired recycling.

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