Fake For Real

The English written companion of Fake For Real: reviews, interviews and articles about rap music

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Exalted being the third collaborative mixtape from Nacho Picasso and Blue Sky Black Death released in a few months, it was somehow expected that, at that stage, the Seattle rapper and the two producers would get a bit less relevant. But actually, it didn't happen that way. Released not long after Lord of the Fly, this project was, in reality, the best of the trilogy. It was also the first they didn't release for free. They might have assumed that, by then, their fans and listeners had become so addicted to their music, that they would be willing to pay for more.


BSBD Music :: 2012 :: buy mixtape

The cover art was a bit different from the others. There were still naked women on it, but the heroic fantasy imagery was gone. This time, Nacho Picasso dressed like Moses, mimicking Isaac Hayes on one of his albums. Apart from this slight change, though, the content had remained the same. The two guys from Blue Sky Black Death, sometimes seconded by Raised byy Wolves, delivered the majestic and synthetic beats they were known for, while the Seattle MC rapped with the raspy voice and the phlegmatic flow of someone who had taken too many drugs. His style was at times dangerously bordering monotony, but thankfully, he knew when to stop and let his music breathe, like with the sumptuous finale "Swap 'em Out".

Nacho Picasso persisted with his nasal voice and his gently ironic tone. He also liked to include pop culture references - mentioning the z-movie Surf Nazis Must Die, for example - into his stoned lyrics. It was still his usual kind of ego-trip, full of deadpan humor and self-mockery, like when he made funs of major labels, on "Tom Hanks", allegedly unable to identify the great guy he pretended to be.

This mixtape sounded roughly the same as the ones before. And though, despite a few weak tracks by its end, it was superior. It had better ideas, like the indigenous chants on "Bloody Murder" or, in a similar vein, the voice of "Kickin' out Windows" – a sample of the Beastie Boys' "Stop that Train". The rapper, sometimes, was surprisingly altering the mood of the record, like with the ethereal "Haile Selassie", or with the unexpected melody on "4th of July", where Jeremy Cross sang on a particularly hypnotic beat. To summarize, his music was getting a bit more diverse, as demonstrated again with the harsh and fractured "Public Enemy".

All of these tracks, details and ideas subtly differentiated Exalted from its predecessors, For the Glory and Lord of the Fly. They were great incentives, to spend these additional 5 dollars requested this time, now that Nacho Picasso and his buddies were worth it; now that they had fully mastered their special recipe.

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