[BRUTAL BEATS] For a good visual representation of what local rapper-beatmaker Sapient's music sounds like, look no further than the cover of his latest album, Eaters Volume Two: Light Tiger. It features a snarling Bengal tiger decapitating unsuspecting victims with laser beams shot from its head. It's gruesome, awesome and ridiculous, just like the earth-trembling slappers Sapient has been creating for years in his home studio.
Eaters Volume Two is no different. It's made up of monstrous instrumentals, built on Zeus-sized synths and basslines created from samples of roaring animals. When it gets going—when the heavy claps kick in on "Forels," or when the heart-stabbing flutes come out of nowhere on "Mansion"—it comes off like a beat tape cut out of steel, forcing you to nod and scrunch up your nose in pleasurable disgust. Whatever the term for the opposite of easy listening is, this would be it. It's music covered in a blob of ooze and armed to the teeth.
But those hard-hitting beats also present a problem, and it isn't a new one: Sapient's light and unassuming voice has never really fit his production. It's a tough dilemma for a talented MC. Even in the ever-so-brief moment on Eaters Volume Two when someone else raps—the vocal sample of Harlem rapper Cam'ron on "Hurricane Hands"—the listener experiences an endorphin rush from the realization of how good these beats would sound with a more compatible voice over them. Alas, Sapient doesn't seem interested in collaboration, and he wants to pulverize your brain to mush so you won't care, either.
SEE IT: Sapient plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with Illmaculate, Goldini Bagwell, Load B and Slick Devious, on Tuesday, July 8. 9 pm. $8 advance, $10 day of show. 21+.