Madison rapper Defcee gives himself plenty room to explore on December's free mixtape Out From Under. He incorporates spoken-word collaborators on "(Advice to a Younger Adam) On Handling Heartbreak," recounts a trip to London on "Postcard," spins a tale of the suburban drug trade on "The Herb in Suburban." As a member of UW-Madison's First Wave Spoken Word and Hip Hop Learning Communty, he's got the mandate and the means to stretch the form a little.
But it's important to ask how an MC meets the demands of a short, playful and cocky song. Defcee, real name Adam Levin, answers confidently and pretty capably on "Fantástico," a boastful introduction that clocks in at just 2:10. "What I'm kicking is religion with a magic act / On the pulpit speech-giving and the rabbit hat," he says by way of introduction.
Though Out From Under often leans toward introspective, on this track Levin briefly visits the Warren Zevon school of humor when he proclaims, "Y'all got the flight plan of a Lynyrd Skynyrd show." Pleasantly shocking, coming from the sullen-looking fellow (in front of I'm Here, that abandoned Vietnamese place on Park Street) on the mixtape's cover.
Chicago producer Sev Seveer's beat offers a bass line with just enough funky stutter and a little swoopy synth and guitar, but he mostly keeps it low-key and stays out of Levin's way. The song doesn't really even have a chorus. That's a good thing, since the real fun here is the internal rhymes and alliteration Levin sneaks into his lines: "Spit split the windows/ Pitch rip the crystal / Kinda spirit that has kids hit the hymnals."
Like anything else I've heard from a First Waver, Out From Under embraces a lot of ideas, even if they don't all work perfectly (but most of them work pretty well). The straightforward direction of "Fantástico" is worthy and easy to embrace.
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