‘Echo Chamber’ by MC Paul Barman review: A wild ride

Fri, May 18, 2018, 10:00


(((echo chamber)))

MC Paul Barman

Mello Music Group

Hip-Hop & Rap

Nothing MC Paul Barman does is obvious. The New Jersey rapper has no time for triteness, unoriginal thought or tired cliche. His third album, Echo Chamber, is fantastical and preposterous in equal parts; another distinct landmark in his own corner of the alternative hip-hop landscape. Take Commandments, where Barman takes up the role of Moses, wryly presenting God’s 10 divine principles before adding a couple of his own. Or Race, featuring Youngman, which trenchantly confronts the realities of white privilege. Barman can play funnyman and philosopher in equal parts. Either way, his flair for putting together words fires like a nuclear reactor. In its style and presentation, the spectre of underground rap’s malevolent supervillain MF DOOM hangs over the record and, indeed, it features two cosmic DOOM beats: 99.9999% and Believe That. Best of all is the Masta Ace-assisted Antennas, a mean slice of rugged street rap. Elsewhere, Questlove is behind the boards on six tracks offering snappy drum loops for Barman’s offbeat, wacky flow. Nerdcore to the core, he cares little for the metrics used to gauge the quality of most MCs’ rapping. For those who can tune their ears to it, this is a wild ride.