unIndian II

(Black Box Tapes)

Release date: Dec 1, 2017

unIndian II is written by pedestrian, but consists of the voices and sounds of friends; Jel, Odd Nosdam, Sole, Josiah Wolf, Walter Gross, Bomarr, Telephone Jim Jesus, Robert Werner, and Paperbark are its heart.

Its compass includes a consideration of the meaning of songmaking ("Anything"), what it's like to wake up in Oakland the morning after witnessing state murder at San Quentin ("Volume of the Seven Seas"), an alternative history of Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's "Lil Ghetto Boy" ("Oakland Hosannah"), post-Katrina police violence and disaster capitalism in New Orleans ("Resurrecting Morning"), and field recording meditations on hook-ups and other kinds of fugitive affections ("Songs Not Songs").

Every song on this record carefully varies an earlier song. "Anything," for example, cites sources as far-ranging as Neil Morris, Nas, Jeezy, Divine Styler, Woody Guthrie, and Large Professor, among others; one refrain in that song, for example, "Let's go; nobody move," is composed of the concluding lines and stage directions of Waiting for Godot, while delivered over a marimba solo by Josiah Wolf alongside a scratched sample from the Wild Style soundtrack.

This is other than, yet quintessentially, a hip-hop album, and one determinedly in dialogue with the dead.