The Skull Eclipses – The Skull Eclipses

theskullIf you thought you had a firm grasp on Hip Hop, that’s too bad. It’s a slippery motherfucker that has eluded the strongest kung fu grips ever since you were but a glint in your father’s eye. Listening to this reminds me of when I first heard the album, “Deltron 3030”. When Dan the Automator, Kid Koala, and Deltron created an album of unbelievable production and value that blew the minds of every baggy hoodie wearing motherfucker for miles around. It changed the fucking game. Nobody had thought of making a rap opera concept album set in a dystopian universe set in the year 3030. Are you fucking kidding me? Even now it sounds insane. But this was 2000. Missy was talking about wanting “Hot Boyz” and Shaggy was saying it wasn’t him. There was garbage music everywhere. Everywhere! Then, while everyone else was sleeping, Deltron bust down the door with record, chainsaw, and smile. It glued me to my chair and blew me away like the Maxell guy listening to Ride Of The Valkyries on cassette. 

The production on this album sets those vocals back, not forward. It throws that rapper into the mix like any other instrument. And, through sound alone, it puts itself into a world outside of our own. An alternate timeline where Japanese Boredoms drummer Yoshimi P-We is down and hitting it with some Drum and Bass and Classical music. But, it begs the question, if it’s created an entire world and reality that’s totally different than ours, why not name that shit? Deltron did it. His shit is set in the year 3030. One quick glance at these lyrics, or just skip over to the news for a second, and you’ll have your answer. What could feel more alien than the shit we are already in? 

Thus, we gotta dip those toes of yours into Afrofuturism. It’s when motherfuckers create an alternative history or reality in order to explore and critique the dilemmas of black people through a different lens. Makes sense, right? If your great-grandfather’s ass had been locked in chains, you might create an alternative history or two. And this album is pure Afrofuturism. Don’t believe me? The last track is called “Spacecrafts in Rajasthan” for fuck’s sake (by the way, if you’re one of those who just can’t hear the words of rap when they go by, check out this video of the song). It has many bizarre references for a rap song (Holy Mountain, Big Lebowski) but the lines make it. Here are a few: 

All in the Looking glass, I’m looking past all these motherfuckers that’s talking about how they walk and they looking back. I’m Richard Feynman, I’m sick of bombing. I’m sick of rhyming. I’m sick of dreaming about everything we had in common.

Looking Glass: Alice in Wonderland.

Richard Feynman: Brilliant scientist essential in creating the atom bomb.

These lines are thick with allusion and meaning. There is a pain and an ache to the reality The Skull Eclipses creates. And the more you listen, the more the band name makes sense. It’s a skull eclipsing the fucking sun. What could be more illustrative to their reality than this? But, instead of shoving this message down your throat, they make you search for these meanings and messages behind layers of beats and psychedelia. Nothing like having truth hidden beneath a sweet candy coating. And there’s not much better than dancing with an understanding of the world around you. Because, in order to change the world, we don’t need to sulk, we need to march. And in order to march, the world needs a beat.

 

 

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