Major Lazer - Apocalypse Soon

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Major Lazer's "Apocalypse Soon" is a modernized and very listenable journey to the heart of a several genres expertly merged together.

If 20 years makes for a generation, then the plausibility of Major Lazer—Mad Decent head honcho Diplo’s reggae and dancehall-themed EDM project—representing some of the most uniquely pop-friendly Rap music progressions in recent memory makes sense. Hot on the heels of the successful 2013 album Free The Universe, the new EP continues the five-year success of Major Lazer representing pop’s most ear-worming disruption from the Hip Hop fringe. The year 1994 wasn’t just the year when Nas and Biggie signaled sea change in Rap music; 1994 was as much about that as it was too about Jamaican emcees like Chaka Demus and Pliers (“Murder She Wrote”) and Patra (“Worker Man”) continuing the mid-90s run of hits from artists also including Shabba Ranks, Super Cat and others, too. Thus, the idea that these types of tracks (that have a history of doing well in the pop charts) mixing with Hip Hop culture and EDM running neck and neck for control of the pop cultural zeitgeist, could have disruptive potential in mainstream music. All that being said, Apocalypse Soon, Major Lazer’s latest EP release, is a modernized (and very listenable) journey to the heart of a very old and beloved “ting.”

You’re likely freaking out over these tracks because one of them is the minimalist, percussion driven “Aerosol Can,” featuring the “Happy” and adored Pharrell Williams spitting bars like its 2008. Lyrically, Skateboard P is on point here. The track bubbles along, and Pharrell’s apparent perpetual youthfulness is showcased in style and verse. Rap music is timeless (and so is Pharrell), and if the track teaches us anything, it’s that we’ve reached a point in the genre where we need to respect the genre’s ever-present party music impulses and really let Hip Hop and EDM culture commingle. Ultimately, Hip Hop culture is currently ubiquitous, thus making rap fit pretty much everywhere. Standing in the way of that progression is as useless and painful as staring directly into the sun.

The throwback vibe that dominates this EP begins in earnest with with the Sean Paul feature “Come On To Me.” Foremost, in sampling Willie Colon’s Fania Records classic “La Murga,” (arguably, built around a tempestuous trumpet and heavy groove, it’s one of the hardest salsa songs ever), there’s an infectious g-funk swagger in the slowed and reggaeton-inspired moombahton sway. Though far from the maddening American mainstream crowd of late, Sean Paul remains an artist whose unique flow and cadence has allowed him a very successful global career. Similar to successfully working with Shaggy on 2013 album Free The Universe’s “Keep Cool,” it’s in blending an awareness of ironic kitsch for the domestic American market with an awareness of the still-apparent talent and value of certain throwback performers that allows Major Lazer to disrupt pop music, while yet still achieving success.

“Sound Bang” and “Dale Asi” may be two of the most intriguing pop productions in the Rap realm to reach American ears in quite some time. Kicking off like something from the Jason Mraz school of sappy top-40 ukulele schmaltz, it speeds up and bubbles over itself into Dutch hardstyle and African kuduro-tinged EDM. At present one of those tracks that your girlfriend’s girlfriend who idolizes Cara Delevigne or A Different World era Lisa Bonet jammed to at Coachella, it’s simply put, an indulgent chunk of mindless pop goodness.

As great as reggaeton emcee Mr. Fox is on “Dale Asi,” the trap-meets-dancehall flavor of the song feels less insistent as if it were voiced by say, Young Thug or Rich Homie Quan. Yes, there’s a certain level of authenticity that the Major Lazer project aims to maintain with Jamaican culture. However, Diplo’s the ultimate tastemaker who needs to make these types of collaborations occur, and a true moment of intriguing pop crossover was arguably missed. This is a situation where a mashup or remix feels imminent to fix said flaw.

When the least intriguing track on the EP features toasters RDX and Moska flowing over marching band-styled “Dirty Dutch” house in a manner reminiscent of 2009’s “Pon De Floor,” much can be said. The most important of those statements is that it shows the five-year progression of not just the team of producers that comprise the project as artisans, but the depth and scope of dance’s foray into Rap, and Rap’s foray into pop. When an act features the level of execution that Major Lazer showcases on Apocalypse Soon, it makes the likely forthcoming full synergy of dance, Rap and pop not so much regrettable, but palatable and completely welcomed.

15 Comments

  • Anonymous

    you guys hatting make me laugh check out the video for M L bubble butt http://youtu.be/wO89_H7GqaQ these cats male music girls shake that ass you all need to come to the strip club and stop looking at internet porn lol

    • Anonymous

      HAHA for real this isnt hip-hop but it desnt mean it doesnt have its own purpose. Also edm isn't killing hip-hop real hip-hop artist dont use edm music. Edm and hip-hop are to different genres its like saying r&b is killing rock music just doesnt make sense

  • Anonymous

    edm is RUINING Hip Hop already we have Schoolboy, Waka Flocka, Too Short, Lil Jon, Chance, ASAP Rocky and Danny Brown making EDM Hip hop, pretty soon ALL rap will be over EDM beats and then eventually the vocals in rap will just be obsolete! FUCK EDM

    • Anonymous

      Yea im sure naS is next to make a edm album. Do you know how stupid you sound look at your argument lil jon, chance & waka flocka they arent even real hip-hop mc's and before they ,ade edm music eberyone thought they were killing hip-hop anyways. As for schoolboy q and danny drown their music doesnt sound like edm to me they just like to make song about doing drugs.

  • So Icy Boi!

    I can't wait for THA CARTER V by the most creative GOD MC ever Lil Wayne. swag

  • Burd Flippa

    Nigga FuCK y'all DX niggaz reviewin dis waCK shit, muthafuCK you and yo mama, bitch ass niggaz. Da fuCK dis gotta do wit hip hop?? FuCK nigga, ima never come on dis site again afta dis fuCK shit! Shouts out to my nigga So Icy Boi! too! i don't hold dat shit against you nigga, fuCK DX.

  • Anox

    Jesus Christ WTF is this and how does it get the same rating as stepbrothers?

  • realnigganonamechange

    wow fuck this gay album. hiphopdx sucks ass so much. this isnt hip hop. edm is killing hip hops genre mane

  • Anonymous

    FUCK EDM EDM IS GONNA KILL HIP HOP THINK IM KIDDING? SO MANY RAPPERS HAVE ALREADY RAPPED OVER EDM BEATS...ASAP ROCKY, DANNY BROWN, SCHOOLBOY Q, TOO SHORT, CHANCE THE RAPPER TO NAME A FEW AND OF COURSE ALL OF EDMS ANNOYING FANS LOVE IT AND ITS GETS A GREAT RESPONSE FROM THE MASSES OF SUBURBAN WHITE KIDS. THEREFORE IT SELLS AND THAT MEANS ALL RAPPERS WILL SWITCH TO RAPPING OVER ONLY EDM BEATS IN 2-3 YEARS TOPS RIP HIP HOP

  • Abed70

    Why can't i go lower than 1?

  • RC

    Why is DX reviewing this?? This isn't Hip-Hop! Ain't nobody wanna hear that EDM bullshit!! Stop giving these lames shine trying to pimp out Hip-Hop for a quick buck!

    • Aim80

      A-fuckin-MEN!! And then you're gonna rate this fuckin album HIGHER than ScHoolboy's album?!? The fuck's goin on over there??? ...aint gonna lie, i watched that whole video just to watch them ugly bitches shake their ass >: )