Few careers start with a more impeccable track record than Vast Aire‘s. The New Yorker who’s lived in nearly all five boroughs opened with the futuristic Cannibal Ox Cold Vein record, deemed a classic in many circles. He then followed with Look Mom…No Hands as his spirited solo arrival, chased by The Best Damn Rap Show as his lower-key one-off project with DJ Mighty Mi. Four years later, fresh off a Mighty Joseph project, Vast Aire aptly titles his second release of the year Dueces Wild, with a potent lyrical display.
One of Vast Aire‘s greatest assets is his gestalts of knowledge. This emcee is versed in martial arts, New York geography, Hip Hop verses and television. “T.V. Land,” a track circulating on MySpace for ages is one of the better concepts offered. In an amalgam of film and television references, Vast is a lyrical TV Guide with his obscure references and colorful hypothetical interactions between legendary screen characters. “The Crush” however, is more personal, reverting back to the relationship interplay Vast masterfully displayed years ago on “The F Word.” The song about lust blends into its own interpretation of Biggie‘s “Dreams,” also bolding alleging Missy Elliott‘s homosexuality, among other amusing commentary. This quality of writing showcases Vast‘s writing abilities well, as he already shines with a distinct voice and trademark strained delivery.
In a career that’s witnessed Vast mesh against the experimental music of El-P and Madlib as well as the expert conventionalism of MF DOOM and Mighty Mi, it’s difficult to break new ground. Deuces Wild ushers in Melodious Monk as the primary source of beats. “The Man Without Fear” uses a traditional bassline while silence and sound effects create a dynamic pasture that allows Vast to employ a catchy chorus and keep the song unpredictable in lyrics and presentation. “Graveyard Shift” also channels that Bladerunner-minded score with lots of electronica and a down-to-earth drum arrangement. Veterans Oh No! and Pete Rock also drop jewels. The latter, in the form of “Mecca And The Ox” sounds tailor-made. The Chocolate Boy Wonder uses futuristic sounds in his SP to create a canvas that suits Vast and Can Ox partner Vordul Mega perfectly, embodying that signature Pete Rock knock in the bass. Regardless of seasoned or newcomer production personnel, Deuces Wild bares a consistency that feels as if one musical mind made it.
Dueces Wild furthers the string in Vast‘s strong catalogue. This emcee is one of the few in Hip Hop who today who garner attention and interest no matter who’s producing, and little needs to be said of the guest appearances. It is Vast Aire‘s own concepts and creativity that make this a standout album, albeit one that’s less bold than his previous, but edgy in an ever-saturated market of rappers saying, “Look mom, no hands.”