Text by KralTunes
Lets play a game…you drop as many pop culture references from the past 20 years as you possible can, and we’ll see if you can match the amount delivered by our own Milo on A Toothpaste Suburb.
I know who I’m putting my money on.
Immediately, I can tell Milo is not looking to make his mark as the prototypical “all about me-me-me” rapper that exists in our culture today. In fact, he is very much the opposite of such stereotypes (you will not find any forms of materialism or braggadocios “cock of the walk” strutting on this album). Instead, you are treated to verses that possess a bit more intelligence, whether humorous or not, than the standard contemporary rap song.
This is no more evident than on the opening track, “Salladhor Saan, Smuggler”, where he’s talking about something as commonplace as the cost cutting methods utilized when renting your first apartment (“We got our first apartment and spent six months in the front room laughing/Darkness was attractive/Dust in the cabinets cause we could only afford paper plates, no napkins”).
Milo continues to showcase his better than average wordplay through
“The image is a prison of the soul
Heredity and education have been exposed
Vices and aspirations have been disposed
I just thought you’d like to know”
“If I was a necromancer, I wouldn’t be a fucking coward”
“Reality is scripted
And rappers no longer spontaneously rip shit
It’s calculated, studied and designed
Binary code, asterisks and dollar signs”
and, of course, a shit ton of nods to pop culture. His references the gamut from COMIC BOOKS, Kevin Smith’s CLERKS, THE NEEDLE DROP, PITCHFORK to even WALTER MATTHAU, of all things. Despite some strong lines, he presents with what I’ve dubbed the ‘A.D.D. rap’ trait; Milo spins through all these topics at breakneck speed and drops them as if he doesn’t have the attention span to delve deeper into them.
Unlike his lyrics, Milo’s delivery is monotone throughout, Tyler, the Creator. There really is no change of pace found anywhere on the LP, so tracks begin to bleed into each other, and they develop that ‘samesy’ feel to them and it drags down the album.
Beatwise, this album offers an enjoyable slew of rhythms, and do supply the listener with several slightly askew time signatures and effects to keep them on their toes. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this is a great sampling of beats, but they do help to diversify the tracks as opposed to the vocals.
So what’s the sum total of “A Toothpaste Suburb”? The album kicks off well but falls short in the end, and therefore, it results is a criminal waste of the Walter Matheau name drop.