Eminem, Aesop Rock, Del the Funky Homosapien
Ask the members of Not Them why you should check them out and they’ll tell you they’re on the cusp of full-blown celebrity eruption. Combine this infectious attitude – which comes through loud and fast through their lyrics and made-to-be-seen performance style – with embarrassingly catchy beats and you just might have reason to believe them. Their music is graspable upon first listen and provides a clownish yet intriguing foray into what could prove to be the next stop on the hip hop map.
The best way to tuck into Not Them is by jumping in head-first, with minimal reservations or expectations. In other words, the next time you find yourself feeling that itch for something different – and front men Dirt Merchant and Gentleman J are nothing if they aren’t hard to define – plug in their new album, Blame It On the Blackout, and turn it up loud. The synth-backed, climactic beats on tracks such as “Celebration” aren’t justified if you’re in a bad mood or not paying attention. These guys are all about fun, and they lay it out unabashedly in their music.
The Florida-based film kids ride that fine line between music that has the audacity to be serious (or at least seriously good) and tongue-in-cheek: “made for the intellectual yet constituted for the college, partying, every day, Ramen eating, lovesick, beer drinking human being,” it might be hard to tell what is real and what is one big joke. Nevertheless, their sound is not easily lumped into the post-hipster genre buckets du jour.
So what will you get when you crank up their music (or better yet, watch one of their rollicking videos)? Well, it ain’t your corner-store hip hop, and it certainly isn’t gangsta rap. The closest thing to the mark is B-boy era word-smithing backed by straightforward but steady beats, with an extra helping of adrenaline. Think Eminem, minus the somber gravity. Are they self-aggrandizing? Sure, but only to the extent that their lyrics tout the finer points of getting drunk and laid. Not Them brings something refreshing and new to the turntable in a time when too many bands are starting to sound alike. They’re all about grabbing life by the balls and so far, they’re not apologizing.
by Marshall Leroy Smith