Hip-hop sometimes has a bad reputation, especially among rock music fans. When they hear about a rapper, the first thing that pops into their heads is probably that guy from the radio who just says ass over and over again. Many won’t even give it a listen. This is disappointing, because those people will overlook one of the best albums to come out this year. Doomtree’s own P.O.S. has created a perfect mix of intelligence and catchiness, and with We Don’t Even Live Here he has cemented his spot as one of the best in the scene.
The album comes out of the gates with the aptly named “Bumper.” Concussive drums propel the track, along with bone-rattling bass and squealing electronics. The song also has P.O.S. using a very relaxed delivery in his commentary on the current rap scene. The single “Fuck Your Stuff” introduces the idea of anarchy and mayhem, something that continues through the rest of the album. P.O.S. brings an infectious energy on this vicious track.
Justin Vernon of Bon Iver adds his talent to “Where We Land,” which features the most melodic chorus on the album and creates a stark contrast to P.O.S.’s aggressive verses. “Wanted Wasted” and “They Can’t Come” follow, featuring Astronautalis and Sims respectively, and complement each other very well. Both have P.O.S. effortlessly flowing over a pounding piano beat, his lyrics seamlessly combining intelligence and bravado.
“Lockpicks, Knives, Bricks and Bats” is packed to the brim with tension and anger, fueled by P.O.S.’s snarling delivery. The track features an eerie beat comprised of a haunting hum and futuristic beeps. The drums don’t even kick in until the last 50 seconds and the entire song creates a highly unsettling mood, one of intense pressure and uprising. It’s followed by “Fire In the Hole/Arrow to the Action,” which acts as an abrasive call to arms.
The highlight of the album is the electronic behemoth “Get Down.” Featuring stuttering electronic wobbles, record scratches and sirens, the track is as catchy of a song as you’ll find on the album. It captures everything P.O.S. stands for message-wise and delivers it in the catchiest way possible. “All of It” continues with the upbeat synth dance music as P.O.S. rhymes about taking back society, dropping lines like “Occupy fuck that/Got a couple of bricks to occupy my backpack.”
“Weird Friends (We Don’t Even Live Here)” not only provides the album with its title, but also represents the album as a whole. P.O.S. has said the record is all about going out and taking whatever it is that makes you happy. The chorus of “This world has a whole lot of locked doors/ We decided not to live here anymore/Picked through the norms/Didn’t fit/Didn’t stick to the script/Didn’t care/ We don’t even live here” really drives home that point. The album closes with “Piano Hits,” which features a bouncing piano beat and guest vocalist Issac Gale’s scathing screams. The track ends the album on a fitting note of aggression and frustration.
With We Don’t Even Live Here, P.O.S. not only re-established himself as one of the top talents in the hip-hop scene, he crafted one of the best albums of the year. The listener can sense the emotion and feeling that went in to making this record, and the end result is incredible.