What is really cool about the new Pumpkinhead CD Orange Moon Over Brooklyn is how familiar it feels. Not that it feels dated, in fact, it is quite the opposite. It feels more like an old friend. That’s partly because the Brooklyn MC who has long been a staple of the NY underground’s crème, and his producer Marco Polo, have made joints that you can nod to, bob to and generally listen to at your leisure and on the run.
Two parts Immortal Technique (tracks “Alkaline ‘N Acid” and “Authentic” both have that cadence and battle rhyme fire), another part Black Pegasus (“Anything” has that same feel musically as “Higher and Higher” with the message intact), he hits you with some of that Raahhfoundashun sound that shows a supreme love for the art.
The joints also have not one, but many opportunities to check the technique and press the replay button. He’s that nice. Just check “I Just Wanna Rhyme” with its battle ready rhymes and butter punch lines accented by Nas’ “One Mic” and Common’s vocal sample on the hook, letting you know straight up that you are dealing with an MC. Think that wasn’t enough, he follows up with a straight cipher style joint “Trifactor” which features Supastition and Wordsworth on the lyrics. This is that pre-8 Mile style spit that makes you wanna hear the lyrical content. Marco’s mellow percussion and string highlighted track only enhances the experience.
Jean Grae makes a guest appearance on another of the album’s dope gems—the somber, yet catchy “Anthem For The End of the World.” You already know Jean is going to deliver; and, as a longtime partner and collaborator, it doesn’t take a genius to know that he’s going to be right up in it with her. Also worthy of mention is “Jukebox” where he takes the titles of all his favorite rap joints and “flips the titles” by putting them in this rhyme. It’s a summer banger in the tradition of Will Smith’s “Summertime” that lets you ride down the boulevard or party with the fam at the reunion.
Pumpkinhead said that he made this record with an ear toward the everyman. In other words, he knows that he has bars, but he also delivers nicely laced, catchy songs. “Grenade” is one of these, with a hook that will have you chanting it long after the last drum stroke. However, at the end of the day, this is that rap record for the hip hop head; that person who feels cheated by the 50 Cent, G-Unit radiology. It’s a true classic, like Common’s Be. Literally ten years in the making, Pumpkinhead ascends from his subterranean perch to offer all a new day.
Rock on and remember why you fell in love with this music in the first place.