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Melissa Czarnik

Raspberry Jesus (Hyperdrive Motivator)

Sep. 20, 2010
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After a WMSE-born EP with TheEric Mire Band last year, Milwaukee rapper Melissa Czarnik properly follows up her2008 studio debut, Strawberry Cadillac, with an even more assured effort that keeps upthe fruit-related titular theme. Mire's production on Raspberry Jesuscombinessynthetic hip-hop elements with organic instrumentation that addsa jazzy beatnik vibe to Czarnik’s rhymes.

Czarnik remains as autobiographical as last time, though the feminist underpinnings of herprevious album are more subdued. It's probably enough ofa positive statement for her gender thata youngMidwestern womancan take in the influence of2Pac and Wu-Tang Clan, make good onthose sounds with a unique, idiosyncratic flow and not sell herselfas a hoochie mamalike so many others in the genre. Czarnik's explorations of herown history and interior life might make her the female counterpart to emo alt-rap actssuch as Atmosphere. Czarnik can spit couplets with enough profanevenom to scare off the competition, but she's just ascompelling when exhibitinga rarecommodity in the rap game: vulnerability without sentimentality. A set this strong should only heighten her already rising profile.


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