Hip-hop truly is world-wide. I’ll preface this by admitting that my knowledge of the hip-hop scene down-under is less than expansive, so if I sound off base at all, that’s why. I recently came across an Aussie (Perth to be exact) artist that I’m really digging. He goes by the name of L.S.D, and (to me anyways) he’s an Australian answer to Rob Kelly [who by the way is a must listen]. Four years after his last release, a Lighter Shade of Darkness, and a brief retirement/hiatus, he’s returning to the scene with an album entitled Off The Grid – and he reached out to AAHIPHOP to spread some of his vibes. I saw the obvious fit, because we’re big fans of Blackalicious over here (peep our Gift of Gab interview), and he very much fits into that pocket. In fact, he worked with him on his first album.
His album is a wonderful mix of old school charm, High and Mighty-esque sonic beds and turntablism (orchestrated by Rob Shaker). To top it off, L.S.D has bars –like REALLY dope bars. It’s a great listen. After the first track, I didn’t even notice he had an accent at all, and the fact that he’s from Australia isn’t used as any sort of gimmick or on-running pun. From the jump, with the high-energy title track, Off The Grid, L.S.D sets the tone, and carries the pace throughout with few missteps. He tackles a range of topics from the staple “overcoming in the face of adversity” on the uptempo (very fun) GO, to soaking in the experience and perspective from a conversation with a 75 year-old on the song Story To Tell. Standouts for me were the joints Alive Again, where he discusses universal true-school hip-hop relevancy struggles, the infidelity shaming Cheaters and the uptempo (sexy) sax laced Rio.
The album’s overall strength lies in its intricacy. The micro details (like the cuts) and the general quality – sonically and creatively – are top-notch. It’s a very solid effort, and with exception of a few references I just didn’t understand, it was quite universal, while remaining true to what I perceive the Perth scene to be. It’s full of real-world stories, hardship and most of all, substance. The fact that I’m limited by North American references to give this man context is a testament to my narrow-minded my view of the culture. I’m going to work on that.
Recommend Piff for your work week!