Writing your mature rap record at the age of 40 can take on many different angles. Do you rep your past and continue to write about the good ol’ days like The Game, do you move into politics like Eminem, do you talk about money and marriage like Jay-Z, do you become a rap traditionalist who uses their bars to call out younger rappers like PRhyme, or do you fill your album with features and celebrate your lengthy career like Dr. Dre?
On The Widow’s Son, veteran underground rapper Apathy does a little of each. Displaying his prominence lyrically and stylistically, he gravitates between braggadocio, rap traditionalism, celebration, the good ol’ days, and brings it personal on the way home.
Speaking with Consequence of Sound, he said of the record that “Creating a vibe or a feeling has always been the most important aspect for me when making a song. I had all these random samples that sounded spooky and chaotic, and I wanted to convey that vibe.” It’s a description that kind of carries over throughout his entire CoS track-by-track breakdown, and it’s one of his greatest strengths. Apathy knows when something sounds right, and the production on this record is amazing. Not everything Apathy runs through might be as easy to follow, as his lyrical content can seem fast-paced and packed with words, but The Widow’s Son’s excellent production matches his aggressive volley of verses perfectly.
With features like Pharoah Monch, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, and M.O.P., it’s clearly the highest Apathy has ever flown, but his content does spend some more time on the ground then more hard-to-follow and out-of-the-box contemporaries such as Aesop Rock. On The Widow’s Son, Apathy is closer to the boom-bap New York sound than ever before, with beats and lyrical content on tracks such as “The Order,” produced by DJ Premier, sounding like the recently released CZARFACE & MF Doom record. They’re all high caliber New York rappers, as both Apathy and CZARFACE’s Esoteric have achieved the title of Best Verse of the Month ever since the title started here on the blog back in January 2017.
Following his father’s passing, Apathy explained that the idea for the record was that “everyone is searching for all these profound truths and secrets… like it’s some book with the key to life in it. That doesn’t exist. We get swept up and distracted by so many things, that we forget to actually live life.” He might discuss his connection to the freemasons, make countless references to things like Stranger Things and Lord of the Rings, and have quite a similarly paced flow throughout the record, but Apathy’s lyricism can’t be ignored, and The Widow’s Son is by far his best release yet.
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