Long before he ever slept on my couch, I knew TOPR as the dude who would ignite a show with a vicious freestyle then slang you a tape and spit another verse for free on your way out. He was everywhere dope rap was in Frisco, and you never forgot him because he was that fucking good. That was a decade ago, and the only thing that has changed is TOPR’s style is more menacing and now the recording package comes as a CD/DVD combo (with always killer art from Alex Pardee), which as is the case with his latest offering, Marathon Of Shame.
For his fifth official release TOPR enlisted producer Dick Nasty to lay the soundtrack for his lyrical montage of vices. Top’s subject matter is candid and unflinching with detail, commanding a flow that could never be misconstrued as false. Truthfully, the whole album is full of quote-ables, but TOPR best describes his style on the first cut “Frankenstein’s Topster.” A Bay Area favorite because I stay creative/With a sharp sense of humor like my brains serrated.
Other Bay Area indie rap stars, Conceit and Boac join Top for the posse cut “New Kicks,” and Foul Mouth Jerk (GFE) blesses “The Name Game” – a fun conceptual track of oddball references.
The first half of the album rides the pumped party vibe, and somewhere near the middle things take a turn for the darker side of rap life. Dick Nasty’s eclecticism sets in, and TOPR digs deep with songs like “Pleasant Dreams” and “Grindhouse” (featuring Z-Man of One Block Radius), where the both of them vividly depict their own deaths. In a word, Ill. The one consistent throughout is the integral scratch phrases placed by DJ Quest (Livehuman, Space Travelers), which give each track a different perspective.
Front to back, Marathon Of Shame bangs out smooth with no setbacks or filler. TOPR doesn’t waste any lyrics, making each bar of every verse and every song mean something. As mentioned, The Marathon of Shame is accompanied by a DVD, featuring a grip of captivating live footage and in depth interviews. A sure shot all the way around, just like seeing him rip it live.
Catch TOPR ripping it live in Colorado this week:
Thursday, May 15 – Independent Records, Colorado Springs @ 6PM
Friday, May 16 – Independent Records, Denver @ 6 PM
Friday, May 16 – Street 2 Screen Graffiti/Film Fest, Falcon Bowl Englewood @ 8pm
Saturday, May 17 – In-studio with Basementalism, Radio 1190AM @ 4pm
Saturday, May 17 – Redfish Brewhouse, Boulder @ 9pm