Humble Beast (2011)
Review by Aidan Severs
Humble Beast are certainly making their mark. Way before they dropped their latest hit, Braille’s Native Lungs, one of their first free downloads was Odd Thomas’s The Divine Use Of Animosity And Ridicule, a 9 track release which originally dropped in 2006. Odd Thomas handles both production and lyrics and so creates his own brand of Hip Hop â€“ but don’t be put off, it’s not that odd!
A challenging look at Christ’s return (‘All Men Amen’), a scathing critique of Catholicism (‘Deception’), a scornful analysis of America’s gun laws (‘Gun Control’) and a painful reminiscence of childhood (‘Father Figure Skating’) makes for engaging and ear-opening listening; Odd Thomas really doesn’t mince his words. It’s clear his convictions are carefully written as rhymes to convey his exact thoughts; you won’t find tracks like these on many other Christian Hip Hop releases â€“ they’re almost a little too honest and they’re definitely out of the usual canon of CHH song themes. OT also takes on television evangelists, religious fundamentalists,
Odd Thomas presents each topic with an accomplished flow and some skilful rhyme schemes. His timbre is pleasing to the ear and even when he half raps/half sings on ‘Deception’ he’s pretty tuneful. On the title track, even the more many-syllabled spoken word-style lyrics fit tightly with the punchy beat.
The production keeps things interesting as no two beats sound similar. The sparse bounce of ‘Ghost Hymns’ contrasts with its predecessor’s conspiratorial, rock-drummed menace. Opener ‘All Men Amen’ kicks things off nicely with choral harmonies and military drums and scattered percussion and piano riffs of ‘Deception’ bring some off-kilter chaos.
There’s a lot to like about this release, especially in today’s Dirty South-drenched scene. It may cause offense or touch some raw nerves, but those who love frank and direct music will accept this with open arms. The Divine Use of Animosity and Ridicule is packed full of clear, consistent and competent rhymes, inventive production and challenging subject matter â€“ a great record.
For fans of: Humble Beast, Propaganda, Braille, Deviance