Esoteric vs. Japan

Pterodactyl Takes Tokyo | Fly Casual
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 28, 2010
4.0 4.0 Stars
ESOTERIC_JAPAN_inside
Anyone who considers Kanye West a genius for sampling generic Billboard toppers should be enamored of Esoteric’s second solo disc in two years. For Pterodactyl Takes Tokyo, the Boston battle rapper turned MC/producer double threat relies exclusively on Japanese pop classics from the ’70s and ’80s. Atop this stew of authentic Oriental backdrops, Eso shoots some of his most vocally adventurous thematic, political, and arcane darts to date, proving he’s one of the few hip-hop artists who can peel slow, fast, and full-throttle flows. There’s no reason rap fans who enjoy dancing and those who like lyrics can’t co-exist; and tracks such as the 10-ton “Godzilla Stomp” and the nostalgically synthetic “Wrestlelectro” with Will C. prove that the two sects could indeed shack up. Tokyo is universal for more than just the obvious reasons: there’s not a lollygagger on this track list, and that’s as much a testament to Eso’s expertise in deploying boom-bap drums as it is to his mashing them with chipper Asian rock and disco. This album isn’t just the bomb — (insert Nagasaki and/or Hiroshima metaphor here).
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