Aj Suede is a rapper out of Seattle, The Emerald City, who has amassed quite the discography which has seemingly fallen on deaf ears. Drawing heavy influence from the Rhymesayers style of backpack and clever punchlines. His newest album Metatron’s Cube is certainly his best, most complete work yet, bleeding with emotion and personality. Fully produced by Televangel (of Blue Sky Black Death, who have worked with the likes of Jean Grae and Nacho Picasso) and released on Ceschi’s Fake Four label, Metatron’s Cube is a phenomenal indie record and flat out one of the best albums of the year.
You think Osama did the towers?
I hope that you can smell it when they give you your flowers
We’re just pawns to higher powers, getting high on sours
They just watch you from your ethernet routers, put a sticker on your webcam
I puked out foam the first time I did a keg stand
The album kicks off with “Wake the Wind”, which provides a pretty good idea of what you’re in for. Over a dark, hypnotic boombap beat, Suede gets personal and discusses a range of tough topics, from addiction to struggling in the industry, coded through references to video games, Star Wars, etc.. His greatest strength might simply be his voice and flow; He is at once commanding and calming, clear and comforting. There are moments where he subtly gets more melodic and draws out certain words which wash the listener in his messages. All of this shouldn’t keep you from appreciating his technical proficiency and rhymes though. “Vox Machina” features a standout beat with a quirky, industrial sound which matches Suede’s allusions to social media and the vapidness of how we interact nowadays. Then there’s “Respect the Architect”, a subtle, yet hard hitting beat where Mr Muthafuckin eXquire steals the show with a hilarious verse with such creative shit talk. This strong opening run continues with “Cracked”, a softer moment featuring Hemlock Ernest, where Suede speaks on growing old, living in the moment, and following our dreams.
Other standout tracks include the trippy “Here” and “Watch Out” with Backwoodz MC PremRock spitting over a dark, exotic vocal sample. Metatron’s Cube‘s greatest highlight, however, is “3 Hours Late”. Over a twisted, melodic beat (with what seems to be some kind of vocoder in the background), Suede talks about all the bad decisions and hardships he’s gone through, and how it affects those around him. Ceschi drops a killer verse which really embodies his style, and the hook is so chilling yet beautiful. The next song “Master Shake” is one of Televangel’s best beats on here, while it all wraps up on “5 x 10”, where the duo leaves us on a hopeful note.
Overall, Metatron’s Cube is not just one of the best records from AJ Suede or Blue Sky Black Death, not one of the best recent backpack or indie albums, but one of the best albums to come out in 2022 period. Hopefully we hear more from both of these guys and Fake Four is poised for a strong year.