Don’t yell at me for saying it, but the voices of female rappers can be lacking. Yes, I am being real. I’m not saying ladies shouldn’t be on the mic, because of course they should. Any woman who wants to get on there live and knock some minds with relevant rhymes or give me a crazy, ass-shaking dance party should step right up. But, on record? I can’t name too many lady rappers that blow up my stereo. Mary J., where you at? I guess you’re occupied with all those Grammys.
With Macromantics, an Australian MC who goes by the name Miss Macro or Romy Huffman in other semantics, you get a cadent assault received at a relentless pace. The beats are not jacked up in the manner of radio hyphy or crunk hip-hop; instead, the production is sober and leaves a lot of room for her to alliterate rather than let the drum machine take the heat. However, Moments in Movement gets too thick with its verse after the first few single-aspiring tracks. Miss Macro barely breathes on every cut, popping off lines like “set apart, I’m the mad speed-reader, fancy bleeder, the bad seed diva” in about two seconds flat. These assonant acrobatics are staggering at first but just tiring in the end.
Part of the sag is due to the content, which starts off crackling like the party in political party but runs straight into bleak themes like bloodthirsty war and bloodthirsty press, a far cry from the album’s earlier, comedic allusions to Jon Bon Jovi and Melanie Griffith. Mostly the blame belongs simply to Miss Macro’s voice, a gruff-toned alto that neither hypes nor blisters after a while. Her variety of verbose rapping might fit in at a poetry slam, but I don’t know where it fits on the iPods of an American audience. Isn’t that how you sell records these days? I can’t hear any bit of Moments in Movement as a soundtrack to one of those chromatic advertisements, except for maybe “Scorch”- but I’m probably projecting that remix version I heard.
To make matters more confusing, Macromantics is being hosted stateside by none other than meta-indie label Kill Rock Stars and touring this spring with that label’s darlings, the confounding trio of Deerhoof. To put it mildly, it is going to be one berserk trek. But maybe it is not confusing at all, considering that founder Slim Moon was once a spoken word artist himself and KRS has put out loads of spoken word records. With that in mind, I’m sure it is just the absurd comparisons to Lady Sovereign that have me so twisted. There is no brat bursting from Miss Macro, only the stern burden of words she is (constantly) spitting. And despite my ambivalence toward Moments in Movement, I wouldn’t mind seeing Macromantics live, if only to see her stutter. Just once!
Jean Grae – This Week
Sage Francis – A Healthy Distrust
MC Lyte – Lyte as a Rock