Salloum – Epitome Perennial
Sounding like an urban party with Martin Luther King, John Lennon, and Nelson Mandela as the special guests… no, wait. That’s exactly what it is. Carry on.
Salloum’s latest mixtape is a huge collection of carefully curated samples and sounds. Opening with a self-helpy vocal about change and personal transformation that pitches the peculiar concept of post-millennial betterness and tipping the scale from negativity to positivity. I always find these ideas intriguing, as I wonder by whose standards this positivity and negativity is being judged. Interestingly this is followed up by a charismatic speech from Martin Luther King Jr. that acts as a fascinating juxtaposition between new thought and religious tradition.
When the mixtape transitions into Salloum’s first own vocal, ‘Ooh La La’ sounds a little thin against the opening bombast, but once the dust has settled and the beat gets into its groove, it becomes an enjoyable piece of easy listening hiphop. ‘Volition’ takes raspy, overdriven samples from ages past with references to John and Yoko, at points it moves into the harshnoise genre (albeit unintentionally) when audience applause is distorted beyond recognition. The track leads into ‘True Story’ which goes on to sample Lennon and continues the mixtapes overall theme of change, growth, and betterness.
Pushing things into more punchy territory, ‘All Too Familiar’ is aggressive and fish punching, laced with attitude and a vocal confidence, with hints of Eminem as the words are spat out at times in a monotone to push the point further. I was nodding my head through the whole track.
‘Call Of Duty’ is similarly crunchy, with delicate piano running beneath it all that flashes through the murk as key moments throughout the track, while ‘Emancipator’ is a delicate closer for the mixtape, featuring more samples from MLF Jr and Nelson Mandela. The attempts of the mix are undeniable, pushing an agenda of change and freedom, and it certainly manages to pose questions even if they might be on occasion a little heavy handed. Even so, Epitome Perennial is worth a spin to check out what’s going on out there in the world of political hiphop.