Fatboi Shaif & noface’s new album Preaching In Havana is hip-hop surrealism at its finest

I thought Halloween may be the perfect time to post something about this album. Fatboi Sharif has been one of the more unique voices to come out of the underground hip-hop scene in the States. Through his collaborative album with Roper Williams titled Gandhi Loves Children, the New Jersey emcee has really fascinated me. His unorthodox flows and wildly eccentric lyricism captures a dark, uneasy vibe that is aided by the experimental and abrasive production he usually raps over. This time around, noface is the producer helping him shape a surreal, claustrophobic soundscape. The album is titled Preaching In Havana, and is entirely produced by noface, whose production disorienting production is creepy and unnerving and often beat-less, to give Fatboi Sharif to rap with complete freedom.

From the opener “Static Vision” to the closer “Fentanyl Firing Squad”, the album sounds line an acid trip, with Fatboi Sharif being the strange and unassuming host, creating these dystopian and wildly peculiar worlds and punchlines that are odd, often funny but also really provocative. Tracks like “1999 Hacker Worldwide” make him feel like he’s drowning behind the mic, while the infectious, drum-heavy “Sunday School Explosives” is one of the more unnerving and claustrophobic tracks on the album. “Paging Dr. noface” has probably the most straightforward beat on the album, and Fatboi Sharif doesn’t even rap over it! “Nazi Needle Marks” is another standout on the album, with a subtle bassline and jazzy brass instrumentation that gives Fatboi Sharif a groovy soundscape to rhyme over, with wordplay and incredible flow. The two rap features on the album also did their thing. “John Hinckley” features Lungs/Lonesword, with a fast-paced, monotonous verse that captures an anxiousness that, along with the murky, minimal beat, makes for a chilling listen. “5G Celsius Cell Tower” featuring Phiik is also an incredible track and another highlight on the album. Phiik’s verse is incredible, as he crams so many words and bars into a short space of time, with a claustrophobic beat that doesn’t give both emcees time to take a breath.

The whole album is just really weird verses combined with eclectic and disorienting production. noface deserves so much credit and recognition, crafting an incredibly detailed sound that adds to Fatboi Sharif’s character as an artist. His ability to rap over these experimental beats with ease is what makes him such an incredible artist, and one of the emcees to pay attention to in years and years to come.

Listen to Fatboi Sharif & noface’s new album Preaching In Havana, released via PTP.

Hey everyone, thanks for stopping by. I run In Search Of Media with the aim of giving a platform to independent beatmakers, rappers and talented musicians. I also hope to make this a home for music discovery, interesting film analysis, exhibition reviews and other interesting content for all of you guys to dive in to. I hope to start a podcast and documentary-style project soon. If you're looking to be a part of this creative project, please go to the contact page and drop me an email, or connect via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I also write for 'Music Is My Sanctuary.' Thanks 🙏

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