By Jimmy Ness and originally published at Passionweiss
After seeing the above cover art, my third eye was opened and all of the sacred chakras were energized. Either that or I wanted to hear what a beat tape from Marley Marl’s 19 year old son MWill sounded like. I love esoteric stuff, but ever since people claimed Jay-Z was in the illumaniti, artists everywhere have been pandering to basement conspiracists with half-hearted masonry references and stupid owl t-shirts. If mystical cults are using all of their elite power to get people to listen to Drake, they’re doing something wrong.
With my scorn for hipster Hermeticism in mind, I approached this project from a critical distance. Had all of the work gone into making obscure references in the track listing or would it be legitimately interesting? Luckily, it was the latter. As Above So Below is an instrumental EP dedicated to and featuring samples from progressive rockers The Alan Parson’s Project.
Usually beat tapes can’t hold my attention, but there’s a lot going on. In just over 30 minutes, it packs spoken word, rap samples, classic prog and futuristic loops. “Elohim” features a catchy guitar sample, Homer Simpson introduces “Atlantis” and “Zohar” is a lo-fi dreamscape for drug trips on rainy days.
If you’re expecting MWill to carry his father’s legacy with authentic boom-bap beats for the “real” hip-hoppers, you’ll be disappointed with these astral sounds. MWill instead pays subtle tribute to Marley Marl by mixing lines such as “rap annihilist flowing like Pegasus” with chilled electronics. Plus, a Lords of the Underground guest spot.
After all, it’s important to respect the past, but there’s nothing better than innovation. Talent can come from good genetics. The reptilian humanoids that control modern society will be pleased with this record. Even if they don’t have ears.