Michigan native Chris Orrick, formerly known as Red Pill, is known for his searing documentation of decay, family troubles, industrialisation and addiction. His latest album, 'Portraits', is a savage criticism of Trump's America, Orrick's melancholic piano-led balladry lending a particular kind of poignancy.
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Time for some self-realisation, folks. MC Chris Orrick has come into ‘Portraits’ with a harsh look at everything around him but it all bounces back inward. Opening on the loathing “Self-portrait”, he crafts a song as caustically insular and openly damning as Kendrick’s “u”, making a light, mellow beat for the pain to bleed through on. So it goes for the whole of this record: with the usual smooth, jazzy backdrop, Orrick bites back at himself, at social decay and at who else but Trump.
Decidedly old-school with a bit more lushness and movement flowing through his beats, Orrick is going to jar with a lot of where modern rap is at. He doesn’t mind: doing his own thing, he creates simple, plain-spoken raps that can be easily deciphered over the top of samples as soulful as “Design Flaw” and as chopped up as “Lazy Buddies”. The whole thing has the aesthetic of one long lounge barroom night, the piano a constant reminder that someone, somewhere, is keeping it anchored. Inside lives a juxtaposition of disdain, Orrick constantly putting himself down on tunes or openly critiquing Trump’s America over sweetly sampled vocals and rolling basslines (“Bottom Feeders”). It’s easy listening but it’s not; inside this clean record something is creeping and crawling.
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