“Lies, Cages and Sharks”
Review by: Kaleb Bronson
Michigan’s UP (Upper Peninsula) gave Moonlight Grammar some creative angst against the system prior to creating his first LP, “Lies, Cages and Sharks” and making Minneapolis his hip hop home.
The typical vinyl playing in the background intro does not let the listener down on this album. “Everything in moderation, including moderation” is one of the first lines spit by Moonlight Grammar on the opening track, “Everything’s A Remix,” which includes Prince References and anti-smoking incentives. For his first album, Moonlight Grammar has a “bomb about to go off,” and it is obvious that his rhymes are not elementary. The political landscape interwoven with the Fill in the Breaks styled beats supplies a fist pumping, head bouncing stylistic treat for hip hop heads.
The repetitive nature of some of the tracks lasts a little too long on tracks like “Falling Apart/Coming Together” but then turns around with “Holler At Sheboygan ft. Daniel Heavens and Rotten Ron,” which offers a party tone heaved over a castle wall to take over the night with lyrical “buckshot” splattered throughout each verse.
The beats throughout the LP show skill and technique, even though they have an early 2000s backpacker style [BBQFU], although they still make the bobble head effects occur and the serious tones of “Absolutely Clueless” take the album back to earth and neo-realism. “Lost in translation of our drama,” Grammar spits before adding “who beats your hopes down?” a few lines later.
This album has many layers and does not have a consistent theme, but it does hold the listener from track to track wondering what will be spit and heard next. The beats on “The Kit. The March. The Rubble” are the most captivating. With caged back spins and beaten back flips of the graphitic nature this track gives a grimy yet pleasured mission for the ears.
The outro of the album is bona fide and opens the floodgates for thought. “Spotlights ft. Ashley Gold” softly lays down the listener and lets reality sink into the deep blue sea. “We’re all stars everyday,” Gold sings elegantly while Grammar relates family and friends to his current lifestyle with a piano gently tapping and then the LP ends with a quote from Tyler Durden of Fight Club, “We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
Moonlight Grammar has the edge of a Northern Lights conjurer and the skill of a hip hop album pusher, as he processes and intertwines his talent with others, more readiness and technique will flourish into new territories.