Gritty, irrational, and honest, “Giant Antlers” by The Masterminds is a warning sign before entering because the road ahead requires critical listening. Over ten years in the making since Tarik and Kimani’s last record, this 14-track album is anything, but rust-covered. In chronological order, each track gives listeners through-the-wall stories, like an apartment complex in Brooklyn, from personal issues to social problems, giving all topics the attention they deserve.
In the first track, “Gotham Burning,” Michael Caine’s monologue from The Dark Knight ironically draws you away from the movies and introduces the underlying theme of “Giant Antlers,” which is that chaos, evoked by the multi-leveled lyricism and grimy beats, is necessary to truly live. If there is no chaos, then there is no freedom to challenge the status quo. The Masterminds thoroughly represent this philosophy, stirring listeners to raise the volume and their fists, through tracks such as “Time to Cash Out” and “Brooklyn Blackout.” Their socially conscious music gets you thinking, hard and fast. This needed chaos for freedom encompasses references to the Occupy Movement and American Dreams, covers substance dependence and modern racism, reflects on media influence and lost love, and exposes everything else in-between that makes life hurt and worth living.
Some of my favorite tracks include, “Rudy’s Got A Pistol,” “East Harlem Rose,” “Algorithm Rhythm,” “One Way Needle,” and “The Ghost of Santa Clara Rose. Then She Exits.”Moreover, Slug (of Atmosphere) and Murs provide guest vocals on Fight Music, a notable track for fans because it illustrates the collaborative process involved in the Hip Hop community. All in all, “Giant Antlers” by The Masterminds comes highly recommended. Listen to it in its entirety and break away from the common mainstream and understand why this album, like chaos, is needed today.
– Eddy M. Gana Jr.