On a regular day in Carrboro, you’re more likely to spot someone riding a fixed gear and eating baklava than spotting someone wearing a balaclava. Maybe it’s the mostly warm weather, or maybe we’re just lacking fashionable criminals. But the first single from Golden Age Neoclassical
, the new album by up-and-coming Carrboro emcee WNDRKND,
does the “Balaclava”
some Orange County good. For six-and-a-half minutes, the Brooklyn native delivers tense, criminology rap, transforming himself into a treacherous character who is big on stickup threats and white-collar offenses.
Underneath the mask and crime sprees lies the not-so-secret identity of Cliff Brett, who recently gave up duties as editor-in-chief of the now-defunct online magazine, Anatomy
, to pursue this nasty doppelganger. It’s the opposite of Talib Kweli’s infamous “too much of a herb and shit, so you became a journalist” attack on the rapper-turned-writer; instead, it’s the result of Brett observing and writing about his rap heroes and perhaps surmising that he’s just as talented as some of his subjects.
Produced by local beatmaker PGMW (of Chicago rapper Ibn Inglor fame), “Balaclava” commits to a steadily haunting synthesizer flatline until rising horns drive WNDRKND toward villainy in what he calls “a toast to all my shitty friends.” His victims find themselves in that “ambulance driven by some anarchists.” Hey, now we’re talking Carrboro!
Golden Age Neoclassical
is out January 28, 2014.