Jam Baxter: Mansion 38

Check out the next offering from Jam Baxter’s latest album, which has further established him as one of the nation’s most innovative MCs. And with good reason. It’s always going to be hard to follow an album that was lauded as much as So We Ate Them Whole, but he and Chemo have managed to pull it off.
His lyricism has always been full of dark imagery, but the levels seem to have been raised on Mansion 38. It could easily have been given the subtitle Fear & Loathing in Bangkok; to me it plays as if Hunter S Thompson had made a concept gonzo rap album, complete with hallucinogenic induced paranoia and twisted cultural references. The album was made in its entirety while Baxter was in Thailand – where Chemo now resides permanently – and it’s fair to say the environment only added to the weird foundations of the project.
Baxter has worked with a lot of producers over the years and while the Dead Players material is up there with my favourite releases of recent times, it is with Chemo that he seems to have found the prefect partner for his lyrical oddities. On the face of it, Mansion 38 seems a lot more personal than its predecessor, with tracks like Bulletproof delving into the murky world of heroin addiction. It’s probably one of my favourite tracks of his now, but when I asked him about it he said ‘it was a bit meh’. If that really is him at his mediocre level, god help us all when he peaks.
Few more guest spots compared to the first album too. Dike and Dabbla join him for Chateaux in Toulouse, while Lee Scott drops in for Titanic 2 and Dumb, where he is also joined by his HAPPYPPL pal, Trellion. Dumb is up there with my favourite tracks from the album, but Baxter on his solo ventures take up the other top spots. Like his closest US counterpart, Aesop Rock, you can listen to the same Baxter song over and over and still find previously unnoticed bars that will be better than 90% of everything else you listened to that day/month/year.
Check out the video for Just Us, with Aboveground doing his damn thing once again and then go cop the album if you haven’t already. It’s available in all formats over at the High Focus store.

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