I’ve been trying to figure out why I keep coming back to the Yea Big & Kid Static sound with my tongue hanging out. My head says it’s because in the same way that our best indie bands are revolting back into pop sounds, this crazy duo are doing the hip hop equivalent, dancing back a few years to the creative zenith of De La Soul and J. Saul Kane, but my heart tells me to just shut up and enjoy.
For this is a serious piece of music. Yea Big & Kid Static seem to have the whole package. Their artwork winks at me with a cartoon character that I adore, and every time I see them photographed they seem to be in the most outlandish pose I’ve ever seen, Static ebullient stage-front, serenading the crowd with huge waving hands, and Yea Big in the background in a shocking technicolour outfit of short shorts and vest looking like he’s engineering the downfall of the whole building.
Their sound in general falls somewhere between Static in mid-air heading for the ground, and Yea Big on the ground heading for the air, which is apt as Static in his spare time jumps off buildings, while Yea Big is a mandolin virtuoso Chicago street-performer and break-dancer.
Yea Big’s debut solo LP last year, The Wind That Blows the Robot’s Arms, was an avant-garde mix of enigmatic brilliance, but this one is simply brilliant, giving him chance to put his mixing and instrumental talent under the feet of a robust rapper and take hip hop back to its golden age, Static balancing on his wilful platforms like a barefoot hot-coal walker, somehow managing to stay upright to help render a sound of teeming, rhythmic wonder.
It’s utter insanity, and they’re an utterly insane pair. Duck, Mother Fuckers! comes out of staccato drumbeats and downright funky electronic spurts into a blinding song that rolls you in a big fluffy rug and bounces you down the stairs. Speak the Facts has the kind of hip hop shimmer I’d never thought I’d hear again, hardcore beats popping away in the background like huge soft bubbles, and Joining Forces taps itself out on bongo drums that subtly resound like beatific hallucinations.
The wit is subtle and the wonder is huge, there’s songs called Low-Budget Battle Scene, The Screaming Starts at Sundance, and We’ve Built A Time Machine That Runs On Beats (We Shall Only Use It For Good), that are just as good as they sound, and through them all runs a parallel streak of sunny lyrical activism to match the music. It’s a hell of a mix, a Durga-juggle of golden hip hop sentiments, and if you’ve an insanity-shaped gap in your record collection, you should dive in now. If you’re like me, you’ll come out with a three-mile smile.